EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSPRINCIPAL INVESTIGATION
from Eyewitness News Online
DHHR Report Finds No Evidence Of Child Abuse In Moffett Case
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: May. 7, 2012 10:12 PM EDT
Updated: May. 7, 2012 10:36 PM EDT
Point Pleasant , Mason County , West Virginia
A report from the DHHR has been leaked, finding no evidence of child abuse from a Mason County principal.
Last month, Point Pleasant Intermediate principal Cameron Moffett was charged with felony child abuse. Now, CPS officials say they can't find any evidence Moffett abused the student.
It's a shocking video that's caused a firestorm of trouble for Moffett. In April, police said Moffett abused an 11-year-old special needs students, Zachary Plants, as he forced him off a school bus, and held him to the pavement with his knee in the boy's back and his hand to his neck.
"None of this would have happened if this child would have simply obeyed his teachers and the educators," said Moffett's attorney Jim Lees.
In a leaked report obtained by the Charleston Gazette, DHHR investigators say they found no evidence of a child abuse.
"They did extensive interviews, they reviewed the video tape and there is no evidence, none that I can see where the principal exhibited a specific intent to cause harm to this child," said Lees.
Lees said he received a copy of the report from the DHHR, but Plants' family attorney Mike Clifford says he has not.
"They apparently gave the alleged perpetrators lawyer a copy of this report. We've not even seen the report," said Clifford.
Clifford says he plans to file a lawsuit against the DHHR for leaking the information, and stands by his clients who have also sued Moffett and the Mason County Board of Education.
"Candidly, I think the people of Mason County deserve education administrators with a little bit more class than what I've seen," said Clifford.
The report says Moffett told Plants he had three seconds to move or he was going to kick him off the bus. They say Plants initially evaded Moffett by lying face up in his seat, and attempting to kick the principal.
"If you think he used excessive force, go litigate it in the civil court system but don't charge an educator in hindsight with a felony."
Clifford believes the report is sugar-coated to support Moffett.
"Administratively, we would hope that Ms. Suzanne Dickens and Principal Moffett be fired. That would solve a lot of the problems that my family has," he said. Dickens is the superintendent for Mason County schools.
"I think it's propersterious to second guess a principal like this and move this into the criminal court system," said Lees.
Regardless of the findings of the DHHR report, there is still a separate criminal case against Moffett. Lees has asked the Mason County prosecuting attorney to not present the case to a grand jury, although a magistrate judge did find probable cause to move the case forward at a previous hearing.
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