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GP teacher faces sex abuse charges

Grants Pass elementary school teacher Van Len Granger pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court to accusations he sexually abused a 12-year-old boy he was mentoring.

Granger, 47, faces charges of second-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse. He was arrested in December after Oregon State Police received a report from the Department of Human Services about possible sex abuse.

Granger's bail is set at $1 million. His family posted a standard 10 percent toward the bail, or $100,000, which allowed him to be released Dec. 24, according to a motion filed by Granger's attorney, Garren Pedemonte.

Pedemonte's motion asks for Granger's bail to be reduced to $250,000, stating Granger may also be charged with a sex crime in Douglas County, where he likely would face bail of $50,000 or higher.

The motion states Granger and his family are unable to fund any further bail beyond what they have posted for the Jackson County case.

Granger, who is on administrative leave, was a fifth-grade teacher at Manzanita Elementary School in Merlin, located north of Grants Pass.

Granger is accused in Jackson County of committing sodomy and sex abuse against a 12-year-old former student he was mentoring while at a Medford movie theater, according to the motion to reduce bail.

The same boy has accused Granger of another incident of sex abuse at a retreat or camp in Douglas County, the motion states.

In the motion to reduce bail, Pedemonte argued Granger owns property in Josephine County, has a stable work history and is not a flight risk.

"Mr. Granger has been working with and mentoring children for over 20 years and has never been accused of any inappropriate activity with a minor," the motion states. "This includes multiple overnight field trips and mentoring programs."

Granger has a pre-trial conference hearing scheduled for Feb. 16 in the Jackson County case.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.