Sacto 9-1-1
March 5, 2013
Former private school principal ordered to stand trial on child molestation charges

By Sam Stanton

A judge on Tuesday ordered former principal Robert B. Adams to face trial on charges that he methodically and routinely molested young girls at his private school in Citrus Heights dating back to 1996.

After four days of testimony, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick said he was satisfied there was enough evidence and ordered Adams to return to court on April 4.

Adams said he "absolutely" planned to retain defense attorney Linda Parisi as his lawyer.

Parisi said after court that she was disappointed but not surprised.

Adams faces six felony counts of molesting children and one misdemeanor charge.

During testimony Tuesday, one young woman told a detective that Adams would routinely place her on his lap at his Citrus Heights school and reach up under her shirt to rub her chest area.

A former teacher told another detective she took a young girl to him with a skinned knee and watched as his hand slid up from her knee to under her skirt.

The allegations came during the fourth day of a preliminary hearing for Adams, a jovial principal and owner of the Creative Frontiers K-6 school who is still referred to in court as "Mr. Bob."

McCormick ruled that enough evidence existed to order Adams to face trial.

The hearing concluded Tuesday following the testimony of Citrus Heights police Detective Nicole Garing, who recounted a conversation she had with a former teacher at the school.

Garing testified that as part of the 2011 investigation that led to the charges she interviewed former teacher Bethany Solomon, who indicated she had taken a girl between 2 and 3 years old to Adams' office for a skinned knee.

During the incident, which occurred years earlier, Solomon saw Adams start rubbing the girl's knee, then move his hand up further under the girl's skirt until only his little finger was visible, Garing said Solomon told her.

The teacher became "extremely uncomfortable," Garing said, and grabbed the girl, saying, "You're good, let's go."

Adams, 61, has denied any wrongdoing and Parisi noted that the teacher - who is required under state law to report any inappropriate behavior with children - never confronted Adams or reported the incident at the time.

The testimony was the latest to come as Parisi tried to counter evidence against her client and prosecutor Kevin Jones' attempts to show that Adams must face trial.

Earlier Tuesday, Citrus Heights police Detective William Sanderson concluded his testimony about interviews he did last month with two alleged victims. Both are 21-year-old women who were about 8 at the time of a 2000 investigation into claims that Adams had molested them.

That 2000 case did not result in charges, but the allegations are included in the current case.

Sanderson said one of the women told him that Adams used to put her on his lap in his office and place his hand under her shirt and rub her chest.

"She couldn't get away from him," Sanderson said of the girl, who was 6 or 7 and in the second grade. "She also stated she had to force her way away from him."

The alleged victim, now 21, said it happened every time she went to the office and that Adams would talk to her as he molested her.

"He said that she was a good girl and that the school was lucky to have her," Sanderson said.

But Parisi brought up a series of inconsistencies from both alleged victims' claims.

She noted that one of the women, as a girl in 2000, used a drawing of a naked girl to diagram where she was touched.

Parisi said the girl drew a circle around the area under her neck and around her stomach, not around her breast area, and got Sanderson to concede he didn't ask her about that discrepancy.

Call The Bee's Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091. Follow him on Twitter @stantonsam.

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