High school teacher denies sexually abusing teens

VISTA, Calif. -- An Orange Glen High School social sciences teacher accused of sexually abusing underage teens -- none of whom were his students -- was charged Friday with four counts of lewd acts with a child.

Travis Lee Putnam, 32, who's being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment Friday afternoon.

He was taken into custody shortly after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday during a traffic stop on Interstate 5 in Oceanside.

Putnam, an Escondido resident, was booked into county jail in Vista on four counts of committing lewd acts with children ages 14 or 15, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Michael Blevins. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted of all counts.

The alleged crimes were unrelated to the suspect's job, Blevins said. A statement from Escondido Unified High School District likewise asserted that the accusations "do not involve students from EUHSD" and were not "believed to have occurred on any EUHSD campus."

Putnam has been placed on administrative leave pending resolution of the charges, according to district officials.

Putnam is due back in a Vista courtroom Feb. 14 for a readiness conference.

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