Phoenix teacher pleads not guilty to luring minor for sexual exploitation

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James Giannopoulos By Mike Gertzman James Giannopoulos By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX – A middle school teacher accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a former student pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

James Giannopoulos, 60, was arrested at his Gilbert home in March. He is charged with three counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, tampering with physical evidence and furnishing harmful items.

Phoenix police said Giannopoulos and an eighth-grade student at Kyrene Centennial Middle School exchanged text messages that offered or solicited sexual conduct.

Giannopoulos was her teacher in sixth grade.

In an interview with police, the victim said that Giannopoulos would give her rides to school and he would park around the corner from her house so her parents wouldn't know.

Detectives from the Family Investigations Bureau began an investigation after another teacher reported seeing Giannopoulos inappropriately close to a student in his classroom.

Giannopoulos was placed on administrative leave from his teaching job.