A Montgomery County science teacher convicted of fondling and kissing a 14-year-old student on school grounds was placed on supervised probation yesterday by a judge who called the sexual abuse reprehensible.

Circuit Court Judge DeLawrence Beard sentenced David G. Reitz, 40, who taught at Ridgeview Intermediate School in Gaithersburg, to two years in prison, but suspended the sentence. "I'm not persuaded that immediate incarceration would be productive," Beard said.

Beard also placed Reitz on 30 months' supervised probation and barred Reitz from being alone with an unrelated minor child.

Reitz also was fined $1,440 in court costs.

Reitz did not speak during yesterday's sentencing hearing.

In late October, Reitz was convicted of two counts of child sex abuse and two counts of fourth-degree sex offense.

State sentencing guidelines recommend a maximum four-year prison term.

Reitz was found guilty of fondling the breast of an eighth-grade student on May 8 and 9 during the showing of a class film on volcanoes. He was also convicted of kissing the girl on a separate occasion while he was alone with her. Both incidents occurred on the campus.

Reitz, who was placed on administrative leave without pay after the incidents, denied the allegations. He testified that he "never touched {the girl} intentionally," although he said he often hugged his students to offer reassurance or praise.

Yesterday, defense attorney Thomas Morrow said his client still maintained his innocence.

Since the convictions, Morrow said Reitz and his family had been ostracized by neighbors and the school community. "He has lost his career. He will never teach again," said Morrow. Reitz is now a car salesman, he said.

Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Taylor said Reitz was a favorite teacher who had violated the victim's trust. Taylor recommended a prison term for the offenses.

Judge Beard called Reitz's offenses "inappropriate and reprehensible." But Beard said the acts were "not the most offensive conduct the court has encountered."

Beard said the Division of Parole and Probation had recommended probation for Reitz.

At the trial, the girl testified Reitz put his arms around her while in class on two occasions and began stroking her arms and fondling her breasts. A classmate testified she witnessed one of the incidents.

The next day, the girl said, Reitz kissed her without her consent.

Taylor presented evidence at the trial that Reitz had stored 37 sexually explicit magazines and tapes in a closet in his classroom. Reitz said the materials had been confiscated from students.