Phoenix teacher pleads not guilty to luring former student - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

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Phoenix teacher pleads not guilty to luring former student

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James Giannopoulos was placed on administrative leave after he was reported having inappropriate contact with a student. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) James Giannopoulos was placed on administrative leave after he was reported having inappropriate contact with a student. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Phoenix teacher has pleaded not guilty to luring a former student for sexual exploitation.

James Giannopoulos, 60, made the plea during his arraignment Monday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court.

A teacher at Centennial Middle School reported to administrators that Giannopoulos was inappropriately close to a student at school on March 3, leading to his administrative leave, according to Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

School officials contacted police to report the incident and an investigation led detectives to several hundred text messages between him and a girl identified as an eighth-grader at the school, Thompson said. The messages offered or solicited sexual conduct, Thompson said.

The text messages from the contact named "Grampa" began on July 8, 2013 through March 4, 2014. The 14-year-old victim said Giannopoulos, who she called "Grampa" or "Gino," would give her rides to school. Giannopoulos had listed himself as her school emergency contact list.

Thompson said Giannopoulos knew his actions were wrong, and told police "I couldn't stop myself."

He denied any sexual contact with the victim.

Detective arrested Giannopoulos at his home in Gilbert and he was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on one felony count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and a dangerous crime against children.

Giannopoulos taught the victim when she was in the sixth grade. He is also a coach at the school.

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