A preliminary hearing is set for October in the case against a former Los Banos teacher turned police officer who is charged with sexually abusing two high school students about 10 years ago.
Dusty E. Norris, 37, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object and one count of oral copulation with a minor, both felonies; and a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse.
Judge John D. Kirihara on Thursday scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for Oct. 17 in Merced Superior Court, authorities said. Such hearings determine whether there is enough evidence against a defendant to proceed to trial.
Norris is charged with having sexual relationships with two girls during his time as a high school teacher in Los Banos while he was employed by the Merced County Office of Education. He was arrested May 18 following a five-month investigation.
The allegations against Norris surfaced during the investigation into Gary Bettencourt, another Los Banos teacher accused of having sex with high school students. Bettencourt also has pleaded not guilty. He is set to return to court Aug. 19.
At least one Los Banos girl is believed to have been victimized by both Norris and Bettencourt. The woman, now 26 years old, has filed a lawsuit against both men and the Los Banos Unified School District. She claims to have been sexually assaulted by both men between 2005 and 2007.
Both men remain free on bail.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482