A former Fresno teacher accused of sex crimes may have more victims

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The 29-year-old spent three years there in charge of classes for fourth graders and seventh graders. (KFSN)

Within months of arriving at Fresno Adventist Academy, police say Christopher Bispham started committing sex crimes.

Four years later, prosecutors filed 15 felony counts against him involving three students, and the school and police are encouraging other potential victims to come forward.

Wearing handcuffs and a red jail jumpsuit, Bispham read a criminal protective order keeping him away from some of the children he used to teach.

The 29-year-old spent three years there in charge of classes for fourth graders and seventh graders.
The court case accuses him of sexual contact with three of them.

"There's 3 different witnesses, 3 different victims who say this defendant molested them somehow," said legal analyst Tony Capozzi.

Capozzi says the number of alleged victims makes the case stronger for police and prosecutors.

If their stories line up, he says jurors would probably believe them.

And their stories are troubling. The alleged crimes didn't overlap, but the details did.

Police say the boys' reported Bispham sometimes told them to go into a closet. When they went inside, he touched them sexually. One of them was just 10 years old at the time.

His defense attorney, Rick Horowitz, didn't want to give a comment, but Capozzi says it could be a tough case to defend.

"Unless he can show an alibi that he was somewhere else when these incidents took place or can show there's a credibility problem with the witnesses, it appears to be a very strong case for the prosecution," Capozzi said.

Police believe it could get even stronger as more victims come forward.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church sent out this letter to the parents of every child who attended the school during Bispham's tenure between 2013 and 2016.

It says school administrators told police about complaints against him as soon as they came up in July of this year. And it invites parents to talk to their kids about anything unusual that may have happened.

Bispham pleaded not guilty Monday.

If he is convicted, he could go to prison for life because of how young one of the victims was, and because there are multiple victims.

He is due back in court next month.

Related Topics:
molestationchurchschoolFresno County
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