A Los Banos police officer briefly appeared in court Monday facing sex crimes charges.
Wearing a black shirt and pants, Dusty E. Norris, sat shackled next to his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Christopher Loethen, in Merced County Superior Court. Norris, 37, did not enter a plea Monday. Instead, his attorney asked Judge John D. Kirihara to postpone the arraignment until Thursday to become more familiar with the case.
Norris is accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with two young girls during his time as a high school teacher in Los Banos through the Merced County Office of Eduction. He was a teacher between 2004 and 2007, authorities have said.
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Norris left teaching in 2007 and became a full time Los Banos police officer in 2008. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing during his time with the Police Department. He has been on administrative leave from the department since January, authorities said.
Prosecutors charged Norris with three counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object, one count of oral copulation with a minor and misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse, according to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.
Allegations against Norris came to light during the investigation into Gary Bettencourt, a Los Banos teacher accused of having sex with high school students, authorities said.
Bettencourt has pleaded not guilty to 13 felonies, including unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation with a minor and lewd acts upon a child.
Prosecutors have said the Norris and Bettencourt cases “are not related.”
However, at least one girl is believed to have been victimized by both Norris and Bettencourt, authorities have said.
Norris remained in custody Monday on $200,000 bail, according to jail records.