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SKYLINE TEACHER IS CHARGED WITH RAPE, ABUSE OF STUDENTS

Charges were filed Monday against a Skyline High School special education teacher accused of raping a student at his home and sexually molesting three others at Skyline High during the 1991-92 school year.

Carlos E. Pinto, 37, was charged in 3rd Circuit Court with one count of rape, a first-degree felony; one count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; and two counts of gross lewdness, a class A misdemeanor.The teacher is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl at his home at 10024 S. Aplomado Circle in Sandy on June 24. The other three, two girls age 15 and 16, and an adult age 18, allege Pinto touched them sexually at school.

Authorities said they expected Pinto to surrender, but that if he didn't, he would be arrested.

Pinto became aware of an investigation into the allegations during the summer and requested leave from his teaching post, said Granite District spokesman Kent Gardner.

Pinto is now on unpaid leave. The question of whether he will be allowed to return would depend on the district's investigation of the whole matter, Gardner said.

Three of the four girls named in the court documents have transferred to another district, and the other has transferred to another school within the district.

The district is conducting its own investigation, Gardner said."We want people to understand you don't have to be guilty of a criminal action to be dismissed from a teaching position," he said. "There's a whole list of things in our (district policies) that make that clear. We will wait for the court decision before we take action on his contract."

The district as a matter of course checks a teacher's background during the hiring process, Gardner said. Pinto was hired in 1978 to teach at Skyline - his first teaching position - and has taught there ever since.

A teacher now hired fresh from a university would undergo a criminal background check by the state as part of the hiring process. In 1978, that wouldn't have happened, Gardner said.

"I have no information at all whether this man had a criminal record. I tend to doubt it. He had good recommendations, and he has been a good teacher."

Gardner said the allegations pose a "huge problem" to Granite District, as they would to any school district. "We have a duty to protect our students - that's our first duty - but we also have a tremendous duty to our staff to see they are treated fairly and their careers protected," he said.