California ‘Teacher Of The Year’ Finalist Arrested For Sexual Contact With Minor

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Terrance Lee Smith

Picture this: You’ve just been honored as one of America’s top teachers. Then word gets out about your illicit affair with an underage student and your world comes crashing down. One San Diego teacher began living that reality Monday.

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Terrance Lee Smith (pictured), 32, a freshman teacher at Chula Vista High School, was arrested October 29th for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a girl at the school, starting when she was 16-years-old.

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Detectives speaking with the girl found that the two hooked up multiple times from 2006 through 2008. Their encounters occurred at school after hours, in Smith’s car and even his home. The girl’s mother notified authorities after she became suspicious of the pair’s dealings.

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Smith has been charged with 14 counts of sexual contact with a minor and is held on $350,000 bail. His arraignment is expected sometime next week. Prior to his arrest, Smith was one of the top 10 finalists for a “Teacher of The Year” award. He is a graduate of Chula Vista High and had been teaching there since 2005, when he began his career.

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“This came as a big shock to us,” Sweetwater Union High School District spokesman Manuel Rubio told UT San Diego. “Definitely we are concerned first and foremost with the safety of the students.”

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There may be more charges to come. According to investigators, there is evidence to suggest Smith had inappropriate contact with other students as well. Any more victims are encouraged to call (619) 691-5182.

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