A former Milpitas elementary school teacher has admitted to
sexually molesting four children, including two of his
students, and will be sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Craig Allen Harward, 54, pleaded guilty Monday to three
counts of lewd and lascivious acts on children under the age
of 14, and no contest to a fourth count of the same charge,
said Milpitas Police Cmdr. Dennis Graham. A no- contest plea
is essentially the same as a guilty plea except it cannot be
used to establish liability in a civil lawsuit.
Graham said 10 children, two of them girls, had come
forward since Harward's arrest last summer to say he had
fondled them, among other things, between the years of 1997
and 2002. One was a child from Southern California, Graham
Prosecutors chose the four strongest cases, Graham said,
and Harward agreed to a plea bargain. The charges carried the
potential of a life sentence.
They involved four boys -- two of whom were 10, one 11 and
another 13 years old at the time they were molested.
Two had been students at Joseph Weller Elementary School,
where Harward worked for six years teaching kindergarten
through third grade.
He was named teacher of the year for 2001-02.
The other two boys knew Harward from the Mormon Church in
Fremont, where Harward was a secretary to the bishop. One of
the boys from church also knew Harward from the neighborhood
where Harward lived with his wife.
Harward has been in Santa Clara County jail since his
arrest, Graham said, and will remain there until his May 9
Police began their investigation on July 30 based on
information from one boy's parents. Harward was arrested the
following day, after surrendering at the police station with
his church bishop at his side.