A South El Monte elementary school teacher accused of inappropriately touching five female students denied five criminal charges in court on Thursday, officials said.
Joseph Alfred Baldenebro, 54, of Montebello has served as a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in South El Monte for the past 21 years, according to Lt. Todd Deeds of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.
Prosecutors charged him in June with one felony count of committing a lewd act upon a child and four misdemeanor counts of child molestation for alleged crimes against the students, which took place on school grounds between August of 2015 and May of 2017, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. He served as a 4th- and 5th-grade teacher at the time of the alleged crimes.
Following his arrest on June 21, Baldenebro posted $102,000 bail on July 1 and was released from custody pending the trial process, Los Angeles County booking records show.
He pleaded not guilty Thursday during an arraignment hearing in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, authorities said.
Mountain View School District officials said Baldenebro was placed on administrative leave once the allegations came to light.
If convicted as charged, Baldenebro could face up to 12 years in state prison.
PHOTO of suspect Joseph Baldenebro courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.