December 10, 2023

A former Marin County faculties superintendent accused of inappropriate contact with a baby was convicted by a jury on Monday.

Robert Patrick Raines, who used to manage the Shoreline Unified College District, may face a yr in jail and a $5,000 nice for the misdemeanor conviction. The state penal code defines the crime as annoying or molesting a baby.

Raines, 69, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 13.

Marin County sheriff’s deputies arrested Raines in June 2021 on suspicion of committing a felony offense, however that cost was later lowered to a misdemeanor. The 40-year training veteran, who was arrested just some weeks earlier than his scheduled retirement, was launched on bail and stated the allegations towards him had been “completely false.”

On Monday, the jurors reached their verdict about two hours after the three–day trial, which was presided by Decide Beth Jordan. Raines didn’t testify.

“The defendant was caught pink–handed and he couldn’t maintain his fingers to himself,” prosecutor Katie Panzer declared in her closing argument on Monday.

The trial centered on a 2021 incident when a district worker claimed she entered Raines’ workplace and noticed him inappropriately contact her youngster. She had introduced the kid to work whereas courses had been being performed on-line due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated Raines befriended the kid, they usually bonded over comedian books and drawing cartoons in his workplace.

The lady testified that she believed that she noticed Raines place his hand into her youngster’s shorts pocket. She recalled that he instantly stood up when she introduced she was choosing up the kid.

“I felt fully blindsided,” she stated.

The mom later requested the kid about Raines’ conduct. The kid stated Raines positioned his hand into the kid’s pocket and rubbed the kid’s higher leg. She contacted authorities after notifying a couple of coworkers and the incoming district superintendent, Adam Jennings.

Lauren Patton, a former Marin sheriff’s detective who investigated the case, testified that the kid instructed her related details about the pocket incident in a recorded interview.

On the day after the incident, the kid’s mom confronted Raines in a recorded phone name and repeatedly accused him of placing his hand in her youngster’s pocket.

“I really feel like I trusted you,” she instructed Raines within the cellphone name, which was performed in courtroom.

Raines replied that he didn’t recall inserting his hand into the kid’s pocket.

The kid testified on Thursday, saying Raines reached right into a pocket and touched a buttock.

Following his arrest, Raines was positioned on administrative depart by the Shoreline college board.

On Thursday, jurors heard about allegations of lewd conduct towards Raines when he was principal of Wilson Elementary College in Petaluma throughout the 2006–2007 college yr.

Ellen Lesher, a retired Wilson Elementary instructor, testified that she confronted Raines about having college students sit on his lap in his workplace, and she or he acknowledged that he broke his promise to cease the apply. She additionally spoke about an incident the place he was accused of making use of an ointment to a poison oak rash on a pupil’s genital space.

“He discovered it to be humorous, he thought it was humorous,” Lesher stated concerning the defendant’s response when she addressed the poison oak allegation.

The previous Wilson pupil, now 27, testified on Monday that Raines appeared to be a pal. The witness reported spending time with Raines in his workplace as a fourth-grader and sitting on the principal’s lap when invited to take action.

The witness stated Raines utilized calamine lotion to a genital rash. The scholar got here to highschool with the remedy and had it utilized on the college workplace.

“I didn’t suppose it was an issue, I used to be just a bit child,” the witness stated.

No prison fees had been filed towards Raines for the allegations at Wilson Elementary College, however the prosecution used the case to argue there was a sample to how Raines handled youngsters he confirmed an uncommon curiosity in.

Throughout his closing argument, protection legal professional Charles Dresow stated the prosecution didn’t show that Raines was motivated by an irregular or sexual curiosity in a baby. He stated there was no offered proof to indicate his consumer’s psychological state.

In her rebuttal, Panzer concluded {that a} “regular individual” just like the Marin sufferer’s mom was troubled by Raines’ conduct, and that the kid testified in courtroom concerning the buttocks contact.

After the decision was learn in courtroom, Panzer complimented the accusers for his or her bravery in testifying.

“The jury weighed the overwhelming proof that led to the best conclusion,” Panzer stated outdoors the courtroom.

Dresow declined to remark concerning the verdict after the listening to.

The Shoreline Unified College District is a Okay-12 college district that serves about 500 college students and operates six campuses in western Marin and Bodega Bay. Raines was a Petaluma resident on the time of his arrest.