A former school teacher in southern Utah has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of sexually abusing five of his past students in Washington County.
The (St. George) Spectrum reports 59-year-old Curtis Payne entered the plea to 15 counts of aggravated child sexual abuse on Tuesday in 5th District Court in St. George.
He's accused of groping and fondling young girls over a period of years dating to the 1999-2000 school year.
Authorities say Payne taught at several Washington County schools over the years, including Sunrise Ridge Intermediate, Sunset Elementary and Bloomington Elementary.
Three of the counts stem from an accuser who told police in December that he groped her three or four different times while sitting on his lap behind his classroom desk.