PITTSBURGH (AP) – A suspended western Pennsylvania teacher has been found not guilty of intimidating a female student who accused another teacher of having sex with her.
Allegheny County prosecutors argued the in-class remarks by 41-year-old Drew Zoldak “broke” the victim and were meant to discourage her cooperation against the other teacher, Joseph Ruggieri. He’s since pleaded guilty and is serving two to five years in prison.
But the attorney for the Plum High School teacher says his remarks may have hurt the girl’s feelings, but weren’t designed to keep her from testifying against Ruggieri – and so they weren’t a crime.
The witness intimidation charge is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.
It wasn’t immediately clear what affect the acquittal may have on Zoldak’s job status.
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