RIVERSIDE – Jury selection will continue today for the trial of a former Riverside elementary school security guard accused of molesting five female students.
Dennis Edward Lucas, 43, could face more than 40 years in state prison if convicted of five counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one count of annoying a minor.
Lucas is free on $50,000 bail.
The first panel of prospective jurors was summoned yesterday to Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gordon Burkhart’s courtroom for screening. Another panel is slated to be vetted today. Opening statements could begin Thursday.
Lucas was arrested in November 2007 after a 10-year-old girl alleged that he had groped her after calling her over to talk with him on the playground of Fremont Elementary School, according to Riverside police.
As the investigation unfolded, four other girls alleged that the 6-foot- 2, 230-pound defendant had also fondled them, police said.
Two of the charges are connected to one victim. None of the girls were identified.
Lucas had been a custodian for the Riverside Unified School District and was later promoted to part-time ”campus supervisor” at Fremont, which equated to a security position.
The Moreno Valley resident has since been dismissed.