MARTINEZ -- A Clayton middle school teacher pleaded not guilty Thursday to 22 sex crimes, including numerous counts of child molestation and two new counts of possessing child pornography.

Police investigating Diablo View Middle School math and science teacher Andrew Bruce Cottrell found child pornography on two computers at Cottrell's Walnut Creek home after he was arrested at the school Dec. 9, deputy district attorney Johanna Schonfield said.

Police said Cottrell, who turns 42 on Saturday, confessed to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a former student. He is charged with one misdemeanor and 19 felony counts of child molestation and other sex crimes involving a child under 16.

The crimes occurred in Clayton and Walnut Creek between February 2010 and August 2011, according to the charges. Prosecutors said Cottrell was arrested soon after the molestations were reported.

The Mt. Diablo school district held meetings with parents and students and provided counselors for students after Cottrell's arrest.

Cottrell appeared in court Thursday morning in jail clothes and behind the bars of a courtroom cell.

He is being represented by a deputy public defender.

Several of Cottrell's supporters watched the hearing but rushed off before reporters could approach them.

Cottrell's bail remains at $1.1 million. He returns to court Jan. 19 to set a preliminary hearing date.


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Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.