Edgewood charter officials face battery charges
Two officials at an Edgewood charter school are facing battery charges after a visit to the principal’s office earlier this month reportedly turned violent.
Bill Robinson, listed online as president of Estancia Valley Classical Academy’s nonprofit foundation, is facing felony charges of battery on a school employee after Principal Timothy Thiery accused Robinson of choking him.
Thiery is facing a petty misdemeanor charge of battery. According to court documents, Robinson told police that Thiery grabbed and shoved him, starting the fight.
Neither of the men returned calls or emails Tuesday seeking comment.
Harlan Lawson, president of the governing council that acts as the oversight body for the charter school, said the council has hired an independent investigator to look into the incident.
He wouldn’t comment on the fight, he said, before that investigation is concluded.
Lawson did say that both Thiery and Robinson are still in their positions while the investigation is ongoing.
According to statements of probable cause filed against both men in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court on Nov. 9, the fight happened on school grounds a week before.
The documents allege Robinson, 61, approached Thiery, 55, around noon Nov. 2 and the two men entered Thiery’s office. As Thiery sat behind his desk, Robinson stood by the door and “began to berate him about leadership problems,” particularly involving the school’s recent relocation, the document stated.
Thiery, after a while, stood up and reminded Robinson that “he was not his boss, so he did not have to explain anything further,” the document says. Thiery told police that Robinson blocked the exit door, and when Thiery stood up to approach the exit, Robinson said: “You touch me and I’ll rip your face off!”
The men’s stories differ after that.
Robinson told police Thiery grabbed and tried to move him, then shoved him in the chest, prompting a physical altercation. Thiery told police he had attempted to wrap his arm around the other man to open the door before Robinson grabbed him.
Both men later told an Edgewood police officer that Robinson grabbed Thiery by the throat, according to the statements of probable cause.
The documents say a school maintenance supervisor overheard the argument and managed to get between the two men. He also reported seeing red marks on Thiery’s throat “where it appeared he had been grabbed by Mr. Robinson.”
Another school staff member also told police he heard yelling followed by banging coming from the Thiery’s office, then the two men came to the reception area where he was working and accused each other of starting a fight, according to the court document.
The Edgewood police officer who responded to the scene informed the men they would be facing battery charges, court documents say, and made the men agree to stay away from one another.
According to online court records, Thiery and Robinson have both been summoned to Santa Fe County Magistrate court at the end of the month to address the charges.
Lawson told The New Mexican the school has made parents and staff aware of their investigation into the situation, but declined to forward whatever notification was provided to them.
Neither Thiery nor Robinson have faced prior criminal charges in New Mexico, according to online court documents.