- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SITKA, Alaska (AP) - A jury has found a former Sitka middle school principal not guilty of sexual assault and other charges.

Joseph Robidou sobbed as the verdict acquitting him of all charges he faced was read Monday evening. Magistrate Leonard Devaney later told Robidou he was free to go. Robidou had faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Robidou was acquitted on charges including sexual assault and indecent exposure following a weeklong trial and 12 hours of jury deliberations that spanned two days, KCAW reported (https://bit.ly/1giQtPQ ).

The three alleged victims were current or former teachers at Blatchley Middle School, where Robidou once worked as principal. The incidents alleged took place over a year, ending in January 2013.

Robidou’s attorney Julie Willoughby, prosecutor Jean Seaton and several jurors declined to comment after the verdict was handed down.

During opening statements in the trial, Seaton said Robidou went to the home of one of the women in January 2013 and put his hands around her neck. She said the woman told school officials, setting off an investigation that resulted in two other women coming forward.

Willoughby said the women and Robidou were part of a party culture of school employees. She said the partying included intimate relationships and suggested the allegations might be a form of revenge by one of the women. She also said poor behavior is not necessarily a crime.


Information from: KCAW-FM, https://www.kcaw.org

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