The attorney for a Mason County elementary school principal accused of assaulting an 11-year-old student said that video footage released by a lawyer for the boy's family tells an incomplete story.
Jim Lees, attorney for Moffett, said the footage is misleading. He said the family's attorney is trying to skew the facts by releasing only portions of the video.
The Point Pleasant Police Department and the school system have copies of the video
, but Lees said the police will not give it to him. However, he said someone gave the video to Zachary's attorney.
Lees has seen only the portions of the video given to media outlets, but he said other parts would show that Zachary "took a swing" on the bus before Moffett came on board.
The force Moffett used was similar to what police would have employed to remove the boy if they had been called
, Lees said. He thought Moffett had similar authority to use that type of force.
"Are you supposed to wait until you get kicked in the balls?"
Lees asked, questioning what he considers the state's limited scope for physical contact between a school employee and student.
He referred questions about school employee training concerning physical interactions with students to the school system.
Dale Shobe, president of the Mason County school board, said he had reviewed the same video and "couldn't make a decision" as to whether Moffett committed a crime. However, he said the charges of felony abuse do not fit.
"I don't feel that he's guilty of felony child abuse," Shobe said.
The boy has a "past history" that needs to be called into question, Lees continued, and he thinks reports that Zachary is a special needs student are misleading.
"They're acting like this kid is a Special Olympics kid," Lees said, adding that children with behavioral problems are also referred to as special needs students.
Lees said there were laws that prevented him from getting into details about Zachary outside the confines of a closed court hearting.