Former teacher pleads not guilty in 'sexting' case

A former history teacher at the Academy of the Holy Family in Baltic pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he had exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a 14-year-old student in 2010.

Robert S. Pfeiffer, 30, of 351 Jagger Lane, Hebron, was arraigned in Superior Court in Norwich on a charge of risk of injury to a minor. Judge Hunchu Kwak reminded Pfeiffer, who had posted a $50,000 surety bond following his April 10 arrest, that he is to have "no contact whatsoever" with the alleged victim, and continued the case to May 21.

Pfeiffer, hired by the all-girls Catholic school in August 2008, resigned in April 2010 after friends of the student saw the text messages and threatened to report him, according to an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by state police Detective Christopher Greer. The girl said that in one of the messages, Pfeiffer asked her if she wanted to sleep with him and she responded that she did not want to lose her virginity at age 14. He wrote her back suggesting there was a way they could "do it" without her losing her virginity. Another of the messages referenced a "Klondike Bar" commercial and a sexual act, according to the warrant.

Pfeiffer also had a late night meeting with the girl in a basement recycling room at the school, according to the affidavit, which indicates the girl brought a friend along and that she jerked her hand away when Pfeiffer attempted to make her touch him.

On April 17, 2010, Pfeiffer went to the school principal, Sister Loreto Beckstein, and told her he was "texting hypothetical scenarios to ensure that (the girl) would be able to say 'no' to boys in the future." Pfeiffer then told Beckstein he wished to resign.

Detectives interviewed the girl and her friends but were unable to recover the text messages, which the girl had deleted from her prepaid cellphone. They also were unable to recover the texts from Pfeiffer's Verizon account and were told text information was only available for three to five days.

During the investigation, an investigator spoke with RHAM High School Principal Scott Leslie who said that Pfeiffer was hired as a substitute teacher in the spring of 2006 and almost immediately was dismissed "due to unusual and bizarre comments made to students."

Pfeiffer has retained attorney Michael Blanchard, according to his court file. Attorney Bernard Steadman has been appointed as a guardian ad litem to protect the girl's interests as the case proceeds.

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