Former Los Banos teacher and police officer back in court for alleged sex crimes with minor

LOS BANOS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Los Banos resource officer who is accused of having sex with a minor appeared in court Tuesday.

Dusty Norris is facing several charges stemming back from 2006, and this also comes after a Los Banos teacher was recently sentenced for having sex with a student.

"He pinned her to one of the walls of the classroom," said Wayne Hutton, an investigator with the Merced County District Attorney's Office.

Norris listened in court Tuesday while the investigator testified about the alleged relationship he had with a student at Los Banos High School.

He claims the relationship started with explicit text messages while Norris was the student's teacher at the high school. He then allegedly became physical with the student during an encounter at the school and another alleged encounter in the classroom.

"He did want a significant relationship with her," Hutton said.

That alleged relationship continuing even after Norris became an officer with the Los Banos Police Department.

"Going forward, we're going to present the evidence we believe proves the case," Merced County deputy district attorney Katie Gates said.

But the defense is questioning why it took several years for any reports to be made. He also questioned why a private investigator, hired by a civil attorney, is making the reports on the victim's behalf in the first place.

"The DA investigator assigned to look into these claims said it was the first and only time, in 30 the years that he's been a peace officer, that a private investigator employed by a civil lawyer has been the one to come forward and report crimes," deputy public defender Chris Loethen said.

The alleged victim in this case is also a victim in the Gary Bettencourt case, a teacher who taught at Los Banos High School at the same time Norris worked there. Bettencourt was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for having sex with students. Norris' trial will now move to an arraignment.

"The evidence presented today was based on what the witnesses have told Mr. Hutton in the past," Gates said.

"There are serious credibility issues, and Dusty and I are looking forward to trial," Loethen countered.

Norris will be back in court in two weeks.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.