POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A Mason County educator hopes to be back in the principal’s office after his acquittal Tuesday on felony child abuse charges.

Mason County Circuit Judge David Nibert found Cameron Moffett not guilty during the bench trial in Point Pleasant. The judge handed down his decision right after the prosecution presented its case.

“The judge concluded the state did not meet their burden for a criminal prosecution at the conclusion of the state’s case,” defense attorney Jim Lees, who did not have to put on his case, told MetroNews. “That’s what I’ve been saying on behalf of my client for over a year.”

It was March 2012 when Moffett, then principal at Point Pleasant Intermediate School, came on a field trip-bound school bus because of a problem with student Zach Plants. Moffett ended up forcibly removing the 11-year-old Plants from the bus. The incident was caught on the bus video. Moffett was later charged with felony child abuse.

Lees said the prosecution couldn’t prove Moffett had any criminal intent because there was none.

“Testimony came out in the trial that this kid disobeyed at least five directives from adults to move his seat on the bus.”

Lees said Moffett knew the history of the student’s previous behavioral problems when he got on the bus.

There were teachers, the Mason County school superintendent and others at Tuesday’s trial in support of Moffett. Lees said he should have never been charged. He said almost as bad was the delay of getting the case prosecuted. Moffett wasn’t indicted until earlier this year.

“Cameron Moffett is a good principal and he was unable to be a principal for an entire school year because he just sat there,” Lees said.

Moffett remained employed as maintenance director for the Mason County school system. Lees said Tuesday Moffett wants to return to his job as principal.

“Obviously his hope is that he will be reinstated to some school as school principal, that’s what he is,” Lees said. “I don’t think he wants to continue his career as maintenance director.”

The Plants family has a civil lawsuit pending against Moffett and the Mason County Board of Education.

 

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Comments

  • Tom

    Lucky for Mr. Moffet this wasn't the liberal. left-wing judge from Mercer County who ordered the closure of WVIHY.

  • Curmudgeon

    I get tired of people complaining about "frivolous lawsuits" by defends attorneys. However, I see more frivolous lawsuits by the state (using our tax dollars) when they take on cases like this.
    This man was needlessly charged. I'm sure he lost countless hours of sleep and had to pay probably thousands of dollars in legal fees. This is for a man that was just trying to make a livingsnd do his job.

    • liberty4all

      Agree. Don't forget the fact he was being paid a principal's salary to not do a principal's work for the last year.

      I have to admit I was surprised the prosecutor didn't present this matter to a grand jury. It could have ended this matter long ago and provided cover from any "fallout" for a failure to prosecute (although same would be minimal at best). Prosecutor's use the grand jury for political cover on hard cases all the time.

      • Mason Co Mom

        Yes, they stuck him out of sight but let him continue to get a paycheck. That should not have happened, there are others who they have fired or suspended. He must have the skinny on someone with BOE. The prosecutor did take it to Grand Jury and he was charged, don't you get the facts before you talk? It's just typical Mason Co. all about those who do the crime not the ones who suffer because of it........

  • lee arthur

    The correct verdict was rendered.

  • Ann

    I am in agreement with the verdict. Mr Moffett did the right thing and good luck to him getting his job back. If kids were allowed to be spanked in schools again they wouldn't act like this!

    • NorthernWVman

      DISAGREE!!! It is NOT the school's responsibility to spank any child!! That alone should be left at home. If the PARENTS disciplined their children properly then the school would have no need to.

      • 2XLPatriot

        Ridiculous! When I was in school, we got paddled for misbehaving and got it again when we got home and Mom found out! You didn't hear of any mass school shootings during that time period either. Consequences for actions= results! But, you're right. It shouldn't be the schools responsibility but, it SHOULD be an option!

    • Patty

      To Susan, Steve & Ann: You should all educate yourselves on "special needs" children. You people are a disgrace to the human race. Where is your emphathy? I too, had to deal with the ignorance of people like you when my child grew up with ADHD. That was 15-20 yrs ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Very few teachers, let alone civilians, knew anything about the mental disorder of ADHD. They just thought the child was acting out for fun, instead of truly not being able to stop themselves, because of their impulsive behavior. But why waste my breath on you. You don't want to listen to the truth. I hope that principal never gets a job again as a principal or a teacher. He does not deserve to be around children. And you three, do not need to be around children either, because you definitely would not make a good parent. And as far as corporal punishment goes, it's barbaric. Get some damn parenting skills and stop relying on the styles from hundreds of years ago. This is modern society, none of us should be living in the dark ages.

  • steve

    they should prosecute the parents for not being able to control their child better...probably problems in the home

  • susanf

    I am glad to see the judge exercised common sense and rendered a not guilty verdict. It is really unfortunate that the prosecutor even brought this trumped up incident before the court.

  • RogerD

    Reading about this brought to mind the Zimmerman case in that the Judge there should have come to the same conclusion. The state didn't meet the burden of criminal prosecution.

    • Mason Co Mom

      U ppl are sickening, I personally would like to see how you felt if that was your child. Have you seen the video? He physically grabbed that child, what do you think for him? Do you think he was scared? And they had enough evidence to charge him!! That man is a bully and a lot of ppl in the county know what he is. I think esp. with a special-needs child, someone needed to stand up for him. It was clearly assault! The video shows that, he didn't give the kid a chance to stand, just continues to roll him, and down the bus steps onto the sidewalk and puts his knee in his back. That man should not be around the schools, apparently he has a short fuse. You all are sick!! No matter what you say, he is still a child. CAN ANYONE SAY SPECIAL NEEDS??

      • B.M.P.

        Mason Co Mom, U r 100% correct, I seen the video n I also have a special needs child that is supposed to start school in Mason Co this yr. Well, since this child abuser is more than likely going to b back in the schools, my son will not be going to Mason County schools. Thanks to the ppl who let this man off with not even a smack on the hand, U just made my life alot harder because now I will have to drive my son to Guiding Hands n pick him up so I know he will b safe from jerks like Moffett!! But on the bright side Mason Co will b paying out-of-state fees for my child to go n plus pay me for travel time to n from Gallia Co. Whether the child had special needs or not, Moffett shouldn't have rolled him down the bus isle n on to the pavement. My God he's not an adult, he's 11yrs old!!!

  • CaptainQ

    Wow! That was quick!

    I wonder if Moffett will get his job back as fast?

    Rather doubt it....

  • Larry

    I predict that metronews will soon go to facebook comments, or eliminate commenting altogether.

  • rdl

    Good luck to Mr. Moffett

  • hillbilly

    Case almost closed. To prevent a repeat, this kid needs removed from this "typical" school and into one better suited to his "Special needs."

    • B.M.P.

      Hillbilly, I have a special needs child n I'll b straight up about this, Mason County doesn't have a suitable "Special Needs" program in place n they really need to learn the Special Ed Laws because they don't follow them by any means. I was going to send my son to a Mason county school this school yr but now knowing that Moffett could b back into the schools, My son will now either be going to Guiding Hands in Gallia County where I know he will b safe n also get taught by teachers that r trained to handle special needs children correctly or he will b home schooled.

  • js

    Lawyers, one step above prostitution.

    • Shadow

      Please, prostitution is an old and honorable profession. Some claim it to be the oldest.

      • js

        That's true, prostitution is more honorable, they provide a service worth paying for and only screw one person instead of masses.

        • Shadow

          Toche. And both leave happy after the deal.

          • js

            And you never hear from them again lol unlike a scum bag ambulance chasing lawyer.

  • mauldawg

    So sad when lawyers will try to ruin someone's life for a paycheck.

    Now on to Troy Sexton. What kind of lame brain are you? You are about the biggest idiot that post on this site. I have read some of your other post,you must be one sad person.

  • picklebeejr

    Now, lets put the shoe on the other foot, and sue the Plants family and sue the lawyer.

    • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

      Agree totally. Sue the parents now and have the kid kicked out of public school. Set the precedent for all parents and bad behavioral related students to follow and feel the consequences of their inaction.

  • Troy Sexton

    Poor, poor prosecutor.... he wasnt able to ruin Moffetts life any more than he already had.

    Poor, poor prosecutor is going to be so sad tonite. The Republican Prosecutor should have prayed more fervently to Jesus Christ, then maybe he could gave gotten Moffett locked up for a few years.

    Dang it. Poor guy. I feel so bad for him.

    Amen, and God Bless You to all Republican prosecutors who are just doing their jobs.... going after and trying to ruin the lives of the REAL criminals like Moffett.

    • JS

      Idiot!!!

      • Troy Sexton

        JS,

        Say a prayer with me that Moffett faces the wrath of God on Judgement day and he is stricken to burn in hell for eternity for getting away with this vicious crime. Continue to pray for the sweet innocent little child who nearly died from his wounds.

        Amen and God Bless.

        • AX MAN

          BS

        • Mason Co Mom

          what do you know Troy?? Your sarcasm is sickening. This child was special needs and we heard from Moffett, he is only worried about having to check the box on his application. There was a better way to handle it, why was it necessary to put his knee in his back? I think you, Troy, don't have the answers. This is why so many of our children are dying. Adults have no compassion for those who need it. They are suppose to examples to children, not wolves that eat there young.

        • B.M.P.

          AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our court system yet again has failed special needs children n 1 day it will come back to haunt them for doing it.

    • Hoppy Kercheval

      Troy, we encourage a free-wheeling debate on this site. We want all posters to have a lively give and take without engaging in ad hominem attacks. Let's keep it civil.

      Thanks,

      Hoppy Kercheval

      • CaptainQ

        Thank YOU, Hoppy!

        That needed to be said here!

      • GregG

        Thanks Hoppy!!

      • Charleston,WV

        My sentiments to you, Hoppy!

      • Shadow

        Every comment should be civil and contribute to informing everyone of various points. I don't always agree but I have more appreciation of the discussion by good comments.

      • Shadow

        Other than harassment, what does a civil suit do when there were no damages? Even the worst ambulance chaser has more sense than that.

      • Luke

        This "case" isn't worthy of discussion any more than it was worthy of being prosecuted.There is far too much reporting in the media and discussion about every aspect of our daily lives.

        Perhaps someone should ask the Grand Jury how they could allow themselves to be manipulated to the point of needlessly ruining the life of another person, so that they can seek forgiveness for what they have done.