Child abuse charges dropped against ex-assistant principal

July 12, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Child abuse charges against the former assistant principal of a Bel Air elementary school were dismissed last week after the alleged victim refused to testify against the man.

The man, James O. Goodson, was in court for trial before Judge William O. Carr on Thursday, but the proceedings stalled when the girl told the judge she would not testify.

Judge Carr warned the girl, whose name has been removed from court files to protect her identity, that Mr. Goodson could not be penalized for his actions nor could he be ordered to receive counseling unless she testified against him.

"You understand that I strongly suggest that you do testify," Judge Carr asked the girl.

"Yes, sir," said the girl, who appeared to be a teen-ager.

"You won't change your mind to testify in this case?" the judge asked.

"No, sir," she said.

Defense attorney Max Miller Jr. of Bel Air then asked the judge to ZTC acquit Mr. Goodson of the charge. Judge Carr said he would "reluctantly" grant the request.

Mr. Goodson, 49, faced a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison had he been convicted of child abuse.

The Abingdon resident resigned from his job as assistant principal of Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School in the spring. He had been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the case.

The defendant, charged in January, was accused of masturbating in front of the victim and attempting to kiss her with his mouth open, court records say.

Police said at the time of Mr. Goodson's arrest that the incidents did not involve any students from the elementary school.

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