Former St. George elementary school teacher accused of child sex abuse

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A former teacher at Sunset Elementary School in St. George was arrested Tuesday after a woman accused him of groping her while she was a student.

Curtis William Payne, of Santa Clara, faces three first-degree felony counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child after a former student came forward last month.

Police interviewed the alleged victim, who is now an adult, on December 21. According to a probable cause statement, the woman described several instances of groping inside Payne’s classroom.

During her interview with police, the woman said some of those instances occurred as she sat on Payne’s lap behind his desk. Other incidents, she said, happened as Payne sat next to her while Payne’s students watched movies in his darkened classroom.

The woman also described another incident that she said occurred during a pool party “at someone’s house.” In each instance, the woman said Payne groped her both over and under her clothing.

St. George Police interviewed Payne on Tuesday, and they said he remembered the alleged victim as one of his students in the late 90s, but he denied the allegations of sexual abuse.

The charges Payne faces have been enhanced due to his position of special trust over the alleged victim.

A LinkedIn profile for Payne indicates he had been a teacher at Sunset Elementary since August 1986.