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Judge Reverses Firing of Teacher Tried for Molestation

A Fourth District Court judge on Wednesday overturned the firing of a San Diego teacher who spent more than three years in prison after being falsely convicted of molesting second and third grade students.

In a written ruling, the judge noted that officials at Clairemont's Toler Elementary School acted erroneously when they terminated Thad Jesperson's employment in November 2008.

Jesperson was arrested in April 2003, tried three times and ultimately convicted on seven counts of molestation. He was sentenced to serve 15 years to life in prison but was released in 2007 because of misconduct on the part of jurors and ineffective assistance from his own attorney. All convictions were overturned and Jesperson asked Toler Elementary officials to reinstate him.

The school denied his request despite the overturning of all molestation convictions and a ruling from a commission on professional competence that Jesperson was fit to teach and that "the evidence (in the case) did not establish that he touched (one of the students who accused Jesperson of molestation) in the manner to which she testified, or in any other manner that was immoral or a violation of district regulations...".

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