INLAND, CA -- A Temescal Canyon High School auto shop teacher gave two of his students a choice: Let him spank them for classroom infractions that he said showed disrespect, or he would tell their parents they were doing poorly in school, prosecutor John Molloy said during opening arguments.
The spanking led to fondling and sexual battery by the Corona man, Molloy said Thursday morning in Riverside County Superior Court.
Defense attorney Michael DeFrank said the two teens came forward for financial reasons and questioned the truthfulness of their stories.
Charles Noppe was arrested in 2002 after a 14-year-old student said the teacher abused him.
"This case is really about paper," he said. "The two teens have something substantial to gain."
Charles Noppe, 35, is on trial on eight counts of sexual battery, nine counts of committing lewd acts on a minor, three counts of kidnapping and a count of possession of child pornography.
Noppe was arrested in April 2002 after a 14-year-old student told police that the teacher had abused him. A second student came forward after reading about the arrest in the newspaper.
Police served a search warrant at the home and found a disk with 30 pictures of men spanking teenage boys, Molloy said.
The 14-year-old told that police he was working on a Chevy Nova at the high school with Noppe. The teacher felt the boy was disrespecting him by wearing saggy jeans, Molloy said in opening statements.
Noppe took the student to a supply room in his drafting class, Molloy said, where he bent the student over his knee and spanked him.
Four more spankings took place over two days, including three times on the student's bare skin, police said. The student also said Noppe took a digital photograph of him without his pants, Molloy said.
Other crimes happened several days later, Molloy said, when the teen went to Noppe's home after Noppe asked the teen's mother if the student could help clean the yard.
DeFrank cautioned the jury about taking the teen's statements at face value. He said the boy's mother was on campus at the time of the incidents at school and that his behavior is not consistent with that of someone being molested.
"You will learn that each time he goes to that auto shop, it's by his own free will," he said.
Molloy told the jury about the second victim, who came forward after reading about the arrest in the newspaper.
The student was in Noppe's classes as a sophomore and went to Noppe's home in 2001 to earn money doing yard work, Molloy said.
During the teen's first visit to Noppe's home, the teacher became irritated and told the teen he disrespected him when he used a calculator in class without asking him, Molloy said.
Noppe said he would tell the teen's parents about his bad grades unless he would agree to be spanked, Molloy told the jury. The teen let Noppe spank him about 50 times. The same thing happened two days later, Molloy said.
During later visits, Molloy said, Noppe talked about sexual matters and sexually abused the boy.
Molloy said the teen kept returning to Noppe's home because he was afraid and too embarrassed to tell anyone what happened.
DeFrank said the jury shouldn't trust the teen because it took him two years to step forward with the allegations.
"He came aboard because he realized this would make one heck of a college fund," DeFrank said.
The trial continues today in Department 52 of Riverside County Superior Court.
Reach Rocky Salmon at (909) 375-3739 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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