POINT PLEASANT — A recent Mason County Grand Jury met on Monday and did not return an indictment for Point Pleasant Intermediate School Principal Cameron Moffett.
As of Wednesday, it remains uncertain whether or not Moffett’s case was presented to the grand jury, or if an indictment was simply not returned. Mason County Schools Superintendent Suzanne Dickens was also unable to provide any information regarding Moffett’s case being presented to the grand jury.
Several media outlets have reported on a report from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and child protective services stating there was not sufficient evidence to convict Moffett of child abuse. Moffett was arrested in April for allegedly abusing 11-year old Zachary Plants on a school bus prior to a field trip. The initial complaint investigated by the Point Pleasant Police Department stated Moffett forced Plants to the floor of the bus, and then proceeded to shove plants down the bus steps and onto the sidewalk, where Moffett allegedly held Plants down to the pavement with his knee on Plants’ back.
Soon after the incident, the DHHR began their investigation, and found that Moffett’s actions were not considered to be child abuse, and Plants tried to avoid Moffett and attempted to kick him.
Media outlets state that Plants was listening to an MP3 player on the bus, which he was permitted do so due to a medical condition. According to Plants’ description of the incident, he was asked to move by teacher, Elizabeth Kapp, and when he didn’t move, Kapp sent for Moffett. Plants said Moffett threw him off of the bus and proceeded to hold him down on the concrete, causing Plants to hit his head.
In addition to Kapp, teachers Annette Cook and Connie Burns also gave statements to the DHHR, in which all three said Plants exited the bus feet first and threw himself on the ground. Moffett then restrained Plants because Plants was hitting his fists and head on the sidewalk.
It was reported that Dickens discussed the incident with West Virginia Department of Education School Investigator John Morrison, and considered suspending Moffett without pay, but determined that Moffett was not at fault.
Media outlets also reported that Moffett’s attorney Jim Lees stated that in order to be charged with child abuse, there has to be intent to harm a child, and added that Moffett was attempting to resolve a situation on the bus.