Former substitute math teacher pleads no contest to lewd acts upon child

David Cornish, substitute teacher charged with "inappropriate relationship" with student, 14.

A former Saugus High School substitute math teacher pleaded no contest to committing lewd acts upon a child and was sentenced to multiple years in prison on Wednesday.  

David Cornish, 29, sexually assaulted a student last year and was originally charged with various criminal counts, including “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,” said Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Unit at the time of Cornish’s May 2020 arrest. 

However, in exchange for entering into a plea agreement and pleading no contest — which is treated the same as a guilty plea — to a single felony count of a lewd act upon a child age 14 or 15, Cornish was sentenced to three years in state prison, a 10-year protective order was issued and he was ordered to register as a sex offender.   

Cornish was arrested at his Valencia residence last year by investigators with the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Unit, which is responsible for investigating the sexual and physical abuse of children and felonious sexual assaults involving adult victims. 

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

The unlawful sexual relationship between the substitute teacher and female student is said to have occurred between April and May of 2020, according to an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department news release about the arrest. 

No other victims were reported as a result of the investigation, according to law enforcement officials.  

Cornish was listed on the William S. Hart Union High School District board meeting agenda from Sept. 18, 2019, as a substitute teacher whose effective starting date was Sept. 19, 2019. 

“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 at the time of Cornish’s arrest. “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 spokesman Dave Caldwell said Wednesday that the district would be unable to comment as of the publication of this story, citing that district staff was on winter break and that the district does not comment on personnel matters.  

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