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O.C. teacher arrested on suspicion of molesting four students

Richard Rack, a 50-year-old math teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente, was being held on $1-million bail after an investigation that began in November escalated.

June 23, 2012|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • Richard Rack, a 50-year-old math teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente, was being held Friday on $1-million bail.
Richard Rack, a 50-year-old math teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School… (Orange County Sheriff's…)

An Orange County middle school teacher was arrested on suspicion of molesting four students, including a girl who says he had sex with her in a San Clemente classroom, police said.

Richard Rack, a 50-year-old math teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente, was being held Friday on $1-million bail after an investigation that began in November escalated when Orange County sheriff's detectives learned he had had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl for two years.

"The sexual relationship began when she was a student in his classroom. The sexual acts occurred in the classroom and at the girl's home," said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Amormino said that despite being under investigation for alleged misconduct with two other students and being arrested in June for child annoyance related to those allegations, Rack, while out on bail, continued his relationship with the girl.

"This contact continued up until last week," Amormino said. "His behavior leads us to believe there may be other victims out there."

Rack was charged in June with two counts of annoying or molesting a child and pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday, Rack was rearrested on suspicion of oral copulation of a minor and lewd acts upon a child 14 or 15 years old.

The November investigation began when a teenage girl claimed that Rack engaged in sexual and inappropriate behavior with her, including asking her to wear a low-cut blouse, commenting on her bust and looking down her shirt. He also allegedly hugged and kissed her.

Capistrano Unified School District officials placed Rack on leave Dec. 1 as Special Victims Unit investigators interviewed his students. Detectives discovered another girl, under 14 at the time, who was allegedly coerced by Rack into sending him a nude photo. That allegation led to his arrest June 6 on suspicion of child annoyance.

After a search of his cellphone, detectives found the third victim. She revealed to investigators that she had sexual relations with Rack for two years while she was in his class, Amormino said.

Amormino said a fourth victim has come forward with additional allegations. Rack has been at Shorecliffs since 2002, according to school officials. The Sheriff's Department is now examining his background in more detail.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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