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Marana Unified School District logo

A Marana High School teacher accused of having inappropriate contact with minors is suing the district and its Governing Board in federal court.

The district initially moved to terminate Andre Perrault, 25, after it received tips, one of which was an anonymous letter, about the teacher allegedly having had sexual relations with teens he met on a dating website.

The statement of charges against him included a police report involving another teen for which no charges were filed against him.

But when the teacher appealed the termination and refused to resign, the Governing Board then moved to rescind the termination and opted for not renewing his contract at the end of the school year while he remains on leave at home.

The Marana district previously said Perrault was on a probationary contract and simply not renewing it was less expensive than going through a full statutory hearing process, which would incur expenses for attorneys and more.

A district spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Thursday. Marana Unified is on winter break until Monday.

The teacher’s attorney, Michael Garth Moore, argued that the absence of a hearing robbed his client of an opportunity to defend himself against what he calls “unfounded” accusations.

Perrault was immediately judged and labeled a criminal by the district and the Governing Board, the attorney said. He was told he’d never return to a classroom even though no criminal charges have been filed.

And because what he calls “false accusations” were publicized, Perrault, who was hired in the 2015-16 school year, has experienced emotional distress, humiliation and loss of self-esteem, and would experience a permanent loss in earning capacities, Moore said.

“Simply because somebody is alleged to have engaged in unprofessional conduct, that’s no grounds to manufacture a reason to get rid of them,” he said.

The statement of charges against the teacher, which the Star obtained through a public records request, accuses him of having met teens through an online dating website on multiple occasions and having paid money to unknown people who threatened to expose him.

The accusations are based partly on an anonymous letter sent to the district and its Governing Board, a police report involving another minor dated July 2015 that did not result in charges, and a phone call made to Marana High that is presumed to be from extortionists.

The statement further accuses the teacher of making inconsistent statements about what happened when district personnel interrogated him.

Moore, the attorney, said his client is the victim of an elaborate online extortion scam and that he hopes no other young teacher gets caught up in such a scam.

“Andre wants his name cleared ultimately in federal court,” Moore said. “That has been the sole goal from the start.”

Contact: 573-4243 or yjung@tucson.com. On Twitter: @yoohyun_jung

Data reporter

Data reporter on the investigative team for the Arizona Daily Star