A teacher charged with having sex with a 16-year-old student pleaded not guilty in court Thursday morning.
Peter Kolesnikov, 38, allegedly engaged in a nine-month sexual relationship with a student from March to November of last year. He while en route to meet with the victim at an undisclosed location in Hayward.
He faces 22 counts of sexual assault, including charges of statutory rape, oral copulation of a minor and communicating with a minor with criminal intent, according to court records. He also faces one charge of possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
Kolsenikov pleaded not guilty Thursday morning at about 9:50 a.m. at the Fremont Hall of Justice. His attorney, David Billingsley, declined to comment on the matter.
Kolsenikov was accompanied by friends and relatives and was out of custody after posting a $500,000 bail on Jan. 26.
He was originally held on a $1 million bail but was granted a reduction on conditions that he surrender his passport and not have unsupervised communications with minors.
During the bail hearing on Jan. 19, Deputy District Attorney Jimmie Wilson disagreed with the bail reduction, asserting that Kolesnikov is “.”
“He was in a position of trust, and in that position he violated it,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, the victim, now 17, told police their relationship began with kissing and grew into sexual encounters in private homes and motels in Alameda County.
A 19-year-old former student of Kolesnikov’s was also at Kolsenikov’s Berkeley apartment when police served a search warrant at the residence, according to Wilson. The nature of his relationship with the former student, who opened the door, he said, was not disclosed.
Authorities also believe there may be additional victims.
A clerk at a hotel Kolesnikov frequented said that Kolesnikov has been seen with various girls, in addition to the victim, according to Wilson.
According to co-workers and district staff, Kolesnikov taught English and some art classes at James Logan High School for 12 years until he took leave at the end of the 2010-11 school year. The district would not comment on the nature of his leave but said it was unrelated to criminal charges.
He was well-liked among both students and staff, said co-workers and several former students who attended Kolesnikov’s previous court appearances, though some online reviews were mixed, with posters calling him "brilliant" but "lacking in enthusiasm" for teaching.
Many of Kolesnikov's students also came to his defense following the initial news of his arrest.
“He’s one of the best teachers I ever had,” said former student Jose Garcia after a previous court appearance. “He was funny. He was helpful. He was just different.”
Kolesnikov is scheduled to return to court for a pre-trial hearing on May 10 at 9 a.m. in Dept. 605 at the Fremont Hall of Justice.
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