Richland High teacher, 59, accused of molesting 14-year-old student

Richland High teacher, 59, accused of molesting 14-year-old student

WARNING: This article contains graphic details.

RICHLAND, Wash. — A Richland High School teacher was arrested on suspicion of molesting a 14-year-old student in a classroom. .

John Bittinger, 59, was arrested Wednesday on charges of third-degree child molestation and incident liberties. He is listed as a science teacher on the Richland School District’s website.

The female student told police Bittinger used his body to push her up onto his desk while they were alone in the classroom together sometime in mid-October, according to court documents. While she was seated on the desk, Bittinger allegedly grabbed her arms and held her tight while standing in front of her.

The girl said Bittinger let her go and proceeded to take off his pants, exposing his genitals. She said she could see “everything.”

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Bittinger is alleged to have then forcibly pulled down the girl’s pants and underwear as she repeatedly told him “no” and tried to shove him off. She said the teacher tried to sexually assault her with his fingers and touched the outer region of his genitals, court documents say.

The girl said she was able to kick Bittinger in the genitals and escape from the classroom.

She said she started skipping class after the incident, which school records corroborate.

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During their investigation, police learned that a total of seven female students have reported inappropriate behavior by Bittinger at school.

Two girls said he stared at students’ breasts and looked down their shirts. One girl said he once looked under her desk while she was wearing a dress and said, “I just had to check just to make sure that you’re still a girl.”

The suspect was arrested at his home on Wednesday and booked at the Benton County Jail.