A male teacher who fondled little girls at his Garden Grove elementary school and a Santa Ana Walmart was sentenced Monday to eight years in state prison and the burden of having to register as a sex offender for life.
A jury in October had found Christopher Micah Brazelton, 36, of Irvine, guilty of two counts of lewd acts with a child under 14 while also finding true the sentencing enhancement for lewd acts involving multiple children and substantial sexual conduct with a child.
A 12-year-old girl was walking past Brazelton in the school supplies aisle of the Walmart on McFadden Avenue shortly before 9 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2008, when the teacher leaned over, grabbed her buttocks and then fled. But shoppers managed to catch him and alert Walmart security, who turned Brazelton over to police.
When detectives learned Brazelton taught first grade at Woodbury Elementary School, officials at the Garden Grove campus were told what happened at Walmart--and that led to five more alleged victims coming forward. Three girls talked amongst themselves, decided Brazelton's touching of them two years earlier was inappropriate and alerted the principal. Two other girls told their parents Brazelton assaulted them and police were informed. All five girls ranged in age from 6 to 11 during the incidents.
Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky told jurors the teacher repeatedly rubbed the girls' upper thighs and vaginal areas over their clothing during class time. Other students did not see the inappropriate touching because it was done underneath a table while Brazelton kneeled or sat next to the girls, according to Bokosky, who added one girl was molested while alone with the teacher in a classroom. The rest of her class was at recess.
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The jury found Brazelton guilty when it came to the girl at Walmart and one of his first graders. The jury hung on the remaining four counts involving the other girls, which the DA's office dismissed.
Needless to say, Brazelton no longer teaches at Woodbury.