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Phoenix teacher pleads not guilty in sex case

PHOENIX — A north Phoenix middle-school teacher accused of a sex crime involving a former student has pleaded not guilty.

James Giannopoulos entered his plea at his arraignment Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

He was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of luring a minor for sexual exploitation following a police investigation.

Another teacher at Centennial Middle School reported seeing the 61-year-old Giannopoulos inappropriately close to a student.

According to police, the investigation turned up evidence that Giannopoulos and a former student allegedly exchanged hundreds of text messages in which sexual conduct was solicited and offered.

Police said the former student was under 15.

Giannopoulos has been placed on administrative leave from his teaching job.

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