Hart District substitute teacher charged with 18 counts


A Saugus High School substitute teacher was accused of 18 counts in court Monday, all connected to allegations he had an inappropriate, monthlong relationship with a 14-year-old student.

David Cornish could face years in prison if convicted of the charges that he allegedly began texting a student whom he then engaged in a relationship with, while he was a substitute teacher on contract for the William S. Hart Union High School District. 

His bail was raised to $1,075,000 at the hearing, according to Sheriff’s Department arrest records.

“It was 18 charges,” said Sgt. Brian Hudson, who leads investigations for the Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Unit, “among them, oral copulation with a minor, lewd acts with a child, penetration with a foreign object and two counts dealing with sexually inappropriate messages over the internet.”

The victim’s mother became aware of the relationship, and then contacted the authorities, according to Hudson. 

“It started out over text message, and then it elevated from there,” he said.

Cornish was initially arrested on a pair of charges. As SCV detectives began to investigate, they learned the relationship was going on for about a month, Hudson said. 

Detectives leveled charges for each individual sexual act they could prove, he said, which was why the charges, which were initially filed May 29, were increased.

Detectives said no one else has come forward since the charges were announced, so they believe they are no additional victims related to this investigation.

“The Hart District is deeply concerned that one of our substitute teachers, David Cornish, was arrested and is expected to be charged with engaging in sexual misconduct with a Saugus High School minor student,” Hart District officials wrote in a statement released Thursday. “The district strives to provide a safe educational environment for all of our students, and we are saddened and disturbed that one of our substitute teachers is being charged with this misconduct.”

District officials said they suspended Cornish upon learning of the allegations.

“Pursuant to California law, upon receipt of a copy of the formal charge, additional action will be taken, including possible immediate termination, and the matter will be reported to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing,” the district statement read.

The case had not been assigned a prosecutor as of Monday, according to officials with the District Attorney’s Office in the San Fernando courthouse, who were not immediately available to comment. 

Cornish was listed on the Hart District board meeting agenda from Sept. 18, 2019, as a substitute teacher whose effective starting date was Sept. 19, 2019. Anyone with information regarding this case can contact the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau, Sgt. Brian Hudson, at 661-471-1500. The Special Victims Bureau also has a toll-free tip line at 877-710-5273 and can be reached by email at [email protected].

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