Summer Hansen, a special education teacher at Centennial High School, pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of having sexual contact with minors. Five underaged boys at the high school claim Hansen had sex with them in various locations between May of last year and May of this year. Tony Shin reports from Riverside for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2013.
A Southern California high school teacher pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that she had sex with five students.
Summer Michelle Hansen, a 31-year-old special education teacher at Centennial High School in Corona, was charged Aug. 14 with 16 felony counts stemming from accusations that she had sex with five students and sent the boys sexual text messages and nude photographs of herself.
Hansen appeared different as she walked into the courtroom - her hair was no longer blond, it was dark brown. Her attorney said she wanted a new look.
Prosecutors said Hansen engaged in sexual intercourse and oral sex with the boys on campus and at one victim's home as far back as May 2012.
One accuser claims that Hansen offered him sex as a "prize" for playing well in a baseball game.
All five boys were students at Centennial High, but none were Hansen's students, according to Riverside County district attorney spokesman John Hall.
Hansen's attorney, David R. Cohn, called the case a "witch hunt" and said Hansen's phone was hacked. Cohn also implied that her accusers may be involved in a conspiracy against her.
"These boys all know each other, if they didn't know each other and had no connection with each other, then you start to wonder," Cohn said.
Prosecutors said the evidence against Hansen is strong, including nude photos of herself that she allegedly sent to the boys in text messages.
"We're not going to charge somebody unless we believe that we have the evidence to prove that they are guilty of those charges," Hall said.
Parents of Hansen's students have come to her defense.
"The truth will come out some way, somehow," Hansen's husband exclusively told NBC4 News. "Our faith is getting us through it,"
After the allegations surfaced, the school district placed Hansen on administrative leave. Police launched an investigation that led to Hansen's arrest on June 20. She posted a $150,000 bond the next day.