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Posted: 1:42 PM- A Weber State University instructor was pulled from his classes and charged with sexual battery this week on suspicion of groping a student after class.

Edward C. Gardiner, a 53-year-old psychology instructor, was placed on paid administrative leave after a student reported him touching her breasts and buttocks during an after-class counseling session.

Gardiner was the victim's "college teacher," according to a probable cause statement filed with the class A misdemeanor charge.

"'He" was touching her under the pretense of assisting her and counseling her in his office."

University officials could not immediately say how long Gardiner has taught at WSU's Layton campus, but said this is the first complaint filed by students or staff against him. Until this week, Gardiner had taught five psychology classes.

"Weber State University takes allegations of this nature very seriously," said school spokesman John Kowalewski. "We do everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff."

The university has turned Gardiner's class over to another psychology faculty member, Kowalewski said.

While police have released few details about the alleged Aug. 22 encounter between Gardiner and his student, the probable cause statement suggests that the instructor touched her sexually over clothing "causing 'her" affront, alarm and great distress."

Gardiner is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing has confirmed that Gardiner surrendered his psychology license in 2004 because of an investigation into unprofessional conduct. He is ineligible for another licence until spring 2009.

Kowalewski said he is unaware of Gardiner's professional licensing problems, but said it did not involve the university. He said a license is not required by WSU's psychology department.