EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFormer Mason Principal Accused Of Assaulting Student Acquitted
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Troy Morgan
Reported: Jul. 23, 2013 1:40 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 23, 2013 11:18 PM EDT
Point Pleasant , Mason County , West Virginia
A Mason County principal accused of abusing a student has been acquitted. It was a case that divided a community after video emerged of the Pt. Pleasant Intermediate principal removing a student from a school bus. But now, more than a year later, Cameron Moffett has been cleared of felony child abuse.
During a bench trial, meaning there was no jury, the judge found the prosecution didn't meet the burden of proof to prove criminal child abuse.
"Mr, Moffett is thrilled, he a principal, he was doing his job that day and he hopes to get back to that job," Jim Lees, Moffett's attorney, said.
The incident happened in March of 2012. The elementary school students were trying to leave for a field trip but there was a scuffle on one of the buses.
Teachers asked 11-year-old Zach Plants to come to the front of the bus several times, but he refused.
That's when Principal Moffett was called in to try and get Zach to comply, but he wouldn't listen to him either.
The defense attorney told the judge that Zach has a history of violence toward teachers and administrators and that Moffett was trying to protect himself and others around him, which he has an obligation to do.
"You will see the principal reach for the students and the child brought his feet up with the attempt to kick this gentleman in the groin," Lees said.
But the prosecution argued Moffett's actions, which were caught on camera, went too far.
"His actions took a situation that was under control and turned it into a situation where there was substantial risk of bodily injury to the child," Prosecutor Craig Tatterson said.
Zach suffered an abrasion on his face.
After being charged, Moffett was removed from his position as principal at Pt. Pleasant Intermediate but did continue to work for the school system. We called the Mason County Superintendent to find out what today's ruling means for Moffett's professional career but she was out of the office and has not yet returned our call.
A former Mason County principal accused of assaulting a student was acquitted Tuesday by a judge in a bench trial.
Cameron Moffett, 45, of Point Pleasant was acquitted of one charge of child abuse causing risk of injury. Moffett previously pleaded not guilty to child abuse charges.
In mid-May, the former principal was indicted on the charge. Police said Moffett forced an 11-year old student to the floor of a school bus aisle and out of the door on to the pavement in March 2012. Moffett was principal at Point Pleasant Intermediate School and was later removed.
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