Teacher Arrested – 6 Richland Girls Give Statements
A Richland High School teacher has been booked into Benton County Jail on possible charges of Child Molestation in the third degree as well as indecent liberties. Richland Police say they found probable cause during their investigation and made the arrest.
Seven girls have reported John Bittinger, 59, for inappropriate conduct. Six girls have written statements detailing the extent of behavior directed at them, including inappropriate touching and looking down shirts. One student has accused Bittinger of looking up her skirt while under her desk. He allegedly told her he had to check to "make sure you're still a girl," according to court documents.
There was also an alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl who managed to escape after Bittinger took his clothes off. He tried to disrobe her, but fortunately, she was able to run away.
Richland Police say it's possible there are more victims and because it's an active investigation, they urge anyone with information to share it with them. Richland School District has placed Bittinger on administrative leave and is cooperating with the police department. You can read full statements from both the department and the school district here.