Arraignment Canceled for Chula Vista Teacher Accused of Sex Crimes

Prosecutors did not file charges Wednesday against the freshman English teacher accused of engaging in sexual activity with a teen on school grounds

The scheduled arraignment of a Chula Vista High School teacher accused of having sex with a minor was canceled as prosecutors considered whether to press charges.

Terrance Smith, 32, was arrested Monday and accused of 14 charges of sexual abuse, including oral copulation on a female CVHS student, said Lt. Gary Wedge with the Chula Vista Police Department.

However, just before a scheduled arraignment, prosecutors canceled the hearing saying the charges are still under review.

No charges have been filed against Smith as of 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“At the very least it's encouraging they are doing their homework instead of making a rush to judgment," said Smith's defense attorney David Shapiro in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The alleged activity happened between 2006 and 2008, starting when the victim was 16 years old, according to the victim's mother, who reported Smith to police this week. The former student was not his student and is no longer a minor, Wedge said Tuesday.

"We interviewed the former student," Wedge said. "She is now an adult, and during that interview she disclosed a number of sexual acts that occurred over a two year period."

Police said some of the alleged incidents happened on the campus after school, at the teacher's home and in his car.

"Our position has not changed our belief that Mr. Smith is responsible for this has not changed," said Wedge. "The decision on whether to file formal charges is DA's."

There may be at least one other alleged victim, Wedge added. 

"There's a great deal of evidence," he said.

About 200 students at Chula Vista High School turned out Wednesday morning to support Smith.

However students at the school where Smith has taught since 2005 said Wednesday morning that they support their teacher whether or not the allegations are true, but they don't believe the allegations are true. They said he was a well-loved teacher who always wanted to see his students succeed.

The 200-or-so students lined up outside of Chula Vista High School Wednesday morning as school was starting chanting, "Free Smith." They wore white because they said it represents innocence and purity.

"He hears you even when he's been in jail," Shapiro told the newspaper.

Smith, right, taught 9th grade English and was one of ten finalists for Teacher of the Year in San Diego County this year.

Smith has been placed on paid administrative leave after being turned over to police at the Sweetwater Union High School District offices, district officials said.

"We can't believe someone like Mr. Smith would do that," said Josue Garcia, a former student of Smith's. "The way we know him, the way he is, we would always go to him for advice and everything. We never thought he would do that."

The students have also expressed their support on social media, calling for other students to attend the rally and wear white in support of Smith.

Since the District Attorney's office did not charge Smith on Wednesday, he was released from San Diego Central Jail.

On Wednesday night, he was able to return home with his family. Smith was able to avoid NBC 7 news cameras as he left jail.

Again, the DA did not explain why Smith wasn’t arraigned as scheduled on Wednesday, only saying that the case remains “under review for potential charges in the future.”

His attorney believes this signals progress for Smith.

"Today was Step 1 in what may be a very long journey to repair a man's credibility and to repair a man's good name that he's worked very hard to achieve," Shapiro told the newspaper. 

District officals said Smith will not be back in the classroom as the investigation is ongoing. 

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