Douglas teacher charged with sexual misconduct

Veteran Douglas High School science teacher Richard Booth, 56, was arrested Tuesday and charged with sexual conduct with a 16-year-old student, the sheriff's office reported.

Booth, of Minden, is accused of having "conduct of a sexual nature" with the student at the teacher's Minden residence in January, according to the sheriff's office.

Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said the girl recently confided in a parent that the incident had occurred and it was reported to the sheriff's office at the end of September.

Since Feb. 9, Booth has been on military leave from the district, stationed in Colorado. He was home on leave when the incident was reported and voluntarily turned himself in to the sheriff's department Tuesday.

Booth was in Douglas County Jail on $50,000 bail and was set for arraignment this morning in East Fork Justice Court, Mezzetta said.

Rich Alexander, assistant school superintendent for human resources, said Booth has been suspended without pay. Booth has been employed by the school district for 28 years, Alexander said.

"The Douglas High School administration and counseling staff is working with students, parents and staff members who may need support during this difficult time," Alexander said.

"It's a serious allegation," said school Superintendent John Soderman. "Mr. Booth won't return to any campus until this is resolved."

DHS principal Mark Van Voorst said faculty and staff had been advised of the incident. He said he could not comment further.

Sexual conduct between a school employee and pupil is a felony which carries a sentence of one to five years in the state prison and up to a $10,000 fine upon conviction.

Sheila Gardner can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 214.


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