After two months of investigation, the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office said that no criminal charges will be filed against former Kopachuck Middle School teacher John Rosi, according to a press release.
In August, a controversial cell phone video went viral after the student's parents released it to media. The video showed their son being held down and harassed by his classmates and Rosi.
As a result, the Peninsula School District suspended Rosi for 10 days and removed him from the classrooms.
This summer, the District transferred Rosi to Harbor Ridge Middle School for the 2012-2013 school year. On Aug. 20, Rosi was placed on administrative leave pending outcome of the investigation.
Acting Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto told Patch that Rosi is still on paid administrative leave while the district gathers information and makes a determination on next steps.
At the Sept. 6 School Board meeting, the student's parents spoke out against bringing Rosi back in the classrooms. Their son now attends a private school.
The Pierce County Prosecutor's Office released the following press release on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced on Tuesday that no charges would be filed in an incident that occurred in a Kopachuck Middle School classroom earlier this year.
Several students in the class recorded cell phone video of one of their classmates engaging in what has been characterized as “horseplay” with other students and the teacher. School officials learned of the incident that day, viewed the videos, and launched an internal investigation, which resulted in the teacher being suspended and transferred to another school.
“In the Prosecutor’s Office, we seek justice,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Sometimes justice requires vigorous prosecution of a case. Sometimes justice requires that we decline to prosecute. While this is unacceptable conduct in a classroom, it’s not criminal conduct under the law.”
The incident occurred on Feb. 2, during a class intended for reading and math preparation. Later in the day, the 13-year-old boy received text messages from students about the incident. The student’s mother asked him about the messages. He told his mother that they “were just playing around.” His mother made an appointment to meet with school officials.
During the meeting on Feb. 16, the student’s mother and father viewed the videos of the incident. Afterward the student’s father told school officials that his son appeared to be laughing during the incident and it “was all fun play” from the boy’s perspective. He also said that he did not see malicious intent on the part of the teacher.
More than five months later on July 25, the student’s parents retained a civil attorney, who in turn contacted a Pierce County Sheriff’s Department detective. The detective and the civil attorney exchanged voicemail messages over the next few days. When they ultimately spoke on July 30, the civil attorney told the detective that she had already made a report of the alleged crime to another Pierce County Sheriff’s Department detective, who was her client on an unrelated civil matter.
On Aug. 9, the teen was interviewed by a forensic interviewer. He told the interviewer that the entire incident was all in fun. The forensic interviewer advised the student’s parents and their civil attorney that there was no disclosure of a crime.
In late September, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department forwarded its investigation to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office. Deputy Prosecutor Jared Ausserer, team chief of the Special Assault Unit, reviewed the case and determined that there is no basis to charge anyone with a crime. As of late October, the student still had not made a disclosure of a crime.
The actions of the teen and his parents indicate that they did not believe a crime was committed as they did not report the matter to law enforcement. Only after consulting with a civil attorney, more than five months after the incident, was the matter reported to law enforcement.
Defense attorneys often assert that a victim’s motive for reporting a crime is to facilitate a civil lawsuit. Here, the investigation was initiated by a civil attorney who was retained by the student’s parents. To complicate matters, the civil attorney reported the matter to a Pierce County Sheriff’s Department detective who had been represented by that same civil attorney on an unrelated matter.
In conclusion, the Prosecutor’s Office has determined that no criminal charges will be filed in this incident.