An Old Mill Senior High School tennis coach was acquited yesterday of charges that he invited one of his students to his home last October and fondled him.
District Judge Joseph Manck found Randall Stevens, 42, who also teaches advanced-placement biology, not guilty of a fourth-degree sex offense charge.
Stevens, who has been suspended from his teaching duties since Dec. 17, said he was pleased with the verdict and hopes to be allowed to go back to teaching at the school.
"One-hundred and twenty-sevendays of hell are over," he said.
The 19-year-old senior who reported the October incident to police on Dec. 3 said he was glad he wentthrough with the trial, but was not surprised by the verdict.
"I didn't have any witnesses," he said. "In our town, (Stevens) is a very moral man and he's a teacher."
The 19-year-old said he had met Stevens through a mutual friend and was in Stevens' advanced-placementbiology class during the fall 1991 semester.
The student said theincident happened shortly after 10 p.m. either Oct. 25 or 26. He said Stevens called him from a racquetball club at 10 p.m. and asked to meet him. The student said he left his home in Crofton and drove to Stevens' home in Millersville.
Once in the basement of the home, the pair began to watch television, the student said.
Suddenly, the teen-ager testified, Stevens turned off the lights and television, walked to the couch and pulled down the student's sweat pants.
"I was shocked and paralyzed," he said in court under questioning from prosecutors.
After struggling a few minutes with Stevens, he fled thehouse, the student testified.
But Greg Grimes, 20, a student at Anne Arundel Community College and one of Stevens' roommates, testified that he had been with Stevens during most of the evening on both dates.
His testimony bolstered Stevens' claim that, although the 19-year-old had been to his house twice before, he was not there on Oct.25 or 26.
"No one stopped over," Stevens said in court of both evenings.
He also said the student remained in his biology class until he was suspended from his duties.
After the three-hour trial, the student's mother said her son will continue classes at Old Mill and will graduate in June.
"He really respected (Stevens)," she said. "And they palled around. I thought it was nice to have a teacher like that. I believe my son. He took a lie-detector test and passed it."