North Hills elementary teacher accused of touching girl ordered to stand trial
A teacher in the North Hills School District will stand trial on charges he inappropriately touched a young girl in his class.
District Judge Richard Opiela ordered Nathan Buttenfield, 41, of Gibsonia to stand trial on charges of indecent assault, institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, child endangerment and corruption of a minor following a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
In early November, Ross police charged Buttenfield, who teaches physical education and health at Highcliff Elementary, after the child told her parents that he inappropriately touched her during a gym activity, police said.
Buttenfield teaches children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
Buttenfield was released on $50,000 unsecured bond following his arrest and has been on unpaid leave from the district.
The girl testified that Buttenfield “was rubbing me” with his hands on her “private parts, front and back. When I tried to run, he pulled me back,” according to Tribune-Review news partners WPXI-TV.
Buttenfield has denied the accusations and his lawyer said the girl appears to have been “coached.”
“It was incredibly obvious the child was coached,” said defense attorney Bill Diffenderfer. “When I see a young girl like this testify as smoothly as she did, I am very curious as to how that happens.”
The judge said some of the child’s testimony is inconsistent, but said she never wavered when it came to the rubbing, so he ordered the teacher to stand trial, according to the TV station.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.