SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The case of a former Sullivan County principal charged with attempt to commit child abuse and attempt to commit child neglect was dismissed Wednesday.
Judge Jerry Beck dismissed the case of former Holston View Elementary School principal Jerry Poteat due to wording in the indictment, which, according to Poteat’s lawyer Jim Bowman, was “legally insufficient.”
District Attorney Julie Canter said they were disappointed by Judge Beck’s ruling.
“It is our contention that the criminal charge should have stood, and the indictment was sufficient,” said Canter.
A jury had already been sworn in for Poteat’s trial and he cannot be tried on the charges a second time due to double jeopardy.
Canter said the outcome does not affect the school’s Program Assistant, Cherith Roberts and her case. Roberts was place administrative leave back in July 2015 pending the results of an active police investigation.
Roberts will appear in court for an announcement on May 16th.
Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Julie Canter said “we disagree and are disappointed with the courts ruling. However, because the judge chose to hear the defenses motions after a jury was sworn, we cannot litigate this case any further and we were deprived of any right to appeal.”
“It’s our contention that the criminal charge should have stood and the indictment was sufficient,” Canter said.
Cherith Roberts, a Bristol, Tenn., Schools administrator, was also indicted with one count of child neglect in this case and she has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
“This does not affect Cherith Roberts and her case,” Canter said. “They have no intentions of dismissing those charges.”
Roberts has been scheduled to appear in court May 16 for an announcement.
Currently, Poteat is on unpaid suspension from Bristol, Tennessee City Schools.
Director of Schools Dr. Gary Lilly issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“Now that the criminal charges have been dismissed, we are in the process of evaluating the next steps. Until that direction is determined, Mr. Poteat will remain on unpaid suspension from Bristol, Tennessee City Schools.”
News Channel 11 will have more on this story starting at 5 p.m.
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