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Mistrial declared for teacher accused of assaulting student

November 15, 2018

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a teacher charged with assaulting a teenage girl at a technical school.

David Scibek, 52, a former Burlington police officer, was accused of hurting a student during his criminal justice class in November 2017. He had pleaded not guilty to simple assault.

Jurors said Wednesday that they could not reach a unanimous verdict in the trial, so the judge declared a mistrial.

Scibek was demonstrating a pressure grip on the back of the girl’s neck after she refused to do pushups as punishment for throwing a piece of garbage, possibly a food wrapper, according to testimony. Scibek said he never completed the grip; the student said it caused pain, the Burlington Free Press reported.

An emergency room physician assistant testified that the girl was treated for bruises to her neck and back.

“Welcome to a 16-year old girl’s nightmare,” Joseph Strain of the Chittenden County prosecutor’s office told the jury Wednesday. The student was “humiliated and had to withdraw from school because her teacher made the decision to deliberately put his hands on her,” he said.

Ernest M. Allen, Scibek’s attorney, told jurors to listen closely to witnesses’ testimony.

“She said he was digging his fingers into her neck for five or six seconds, and everyone was silent,” Allen said, noting that none of the students who testified said they witnessed that.

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