News


Palo Alto teacher pleads not guilty to sexual misconduct

Ronnie Farrell is charged with nine counts allegedly involving a student

Palo Alto High School science teacher Ronnie Farrell pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that he touched a 15-year-old student inappropriately, a Santa Clara County prosecutor said.

Farrell, 46, is charged with six counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor and three counts of sexual battery for two incidents in early June on school grounds, prosecutor Steven Dal Porto said.

Farrell was arrested by Palo Alto police on June 15.

The student regularly helped teachers in the classroom with chores. She met with Farrell on June 7 after he allegedly asked her to meet him at the school, according to the DA’s office.

Farrell led her to a classroom, where he allegedly touched her chest and took her hand to touch his groin. The girl told her parents about the incident, and they called police. Farrell continued corresponding with the girl via social media and arranged to meet her at the school on June 15. When he arrived, police arrested him.

In a separate incident on June 3, Farrell also allegedly had inappropriate physical contact with the girl, Dal Port said.

Farrell is out on $250,000 bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto on Jan. 20.

---

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Comments

6 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 19, 2016 at 6:31 pm

fyi - the Weekly published the perp's mug shot on June 22


6 people like this
Posted by DC McGlynn
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 11:31 am

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Dear DC McGlynn,
I am a Scot and believe me Scotland would send this guy back in a heartbeat.
Funnily enough Scottish law is what American law is based on.


9 people like this
Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 21, 2016 at 4:51 pm

All the details aren't published, but I don't know how this she/he argument can convict him. Maybe it doesn't matter and it's the texting that they are pursuing instead. I am saddened that this happened to Mr. Ferrell, as he was an excellent chemistry teacher and now he has lost his career and students have lost his good teaching. So very unfortunate.

Mr. Shreve was a teacher at Paly from the 1960s he took boys up to the Tower and molested them. He was still there in the mid 80s until he finally got arrested. He has completed his prison sentence (I don't know how long it was) but his acts were easily more reprehensible than this case: Web Link

Parents need to tell their children to be aware of the red flags. I never had Mr. Shreve but remember teachers who were capable - one asked me to lunch, then tried to kiss me; I was naive and thought nothing was wrong with going to to lunch - he was always joking with the girls and I didn't have any friends - he seemed to like the quieter girls. I wasn't traumatized but knew to stay away thereafter. Another was eventually convicted of molestation - he flirted/joked with girls (but we had no idea it was a red flag). Teens are naive and they should know that a teacher should not be a friend and they should not see them outside of the school campus. Those who want to be friends are capable of crossing the line. Sure, a teacher can small talk about things other than academics, but shouldn't talk extensively about non-academics as if they are a friend. Red flags: Be wary of teachers who touch, even if it's an arm or a pat on the back, a teacher should not be messaging them like a a friend would, flirting/joking inappropriately. Mostly, I recall that these two teachers just seemed a bit off to me, but it was in my subconscious, as teens are not yet skeptical. A pat on the back once might not mean anything, but mixed with other weirdisms, beware. Let's be clear that these cases are rare. But teens are naive and they should know some warning signs.

Some Paly teachers who won't accept Friend requests from students until the student graduates (even if the student is the same gender). It's just safer all around to keep things business only.




Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Populism: A response to the failure of the elites: Palo Alto edition
By Douglas Moran | 7 comments | 1,347 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,340 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,063 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 878 views

Mountain View's Hangen Szechuan to close after 25 years
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 481 views