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Mason County principal acquitted in school bus abuse case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A judge has thrown out charges against a former Mason County principal accused of physically abusing an 11-year-old boy while removing him from a school bus.

Cameron Moffett appeared Tuesday before Mason Circuit Judge David Nibert for a bench trial, meaning there was no jury present, according to a court secretary.

Moffett was charged with felony child abuse in April 2012 after he forcibly removed Zachary Plants from the school bus on March 21.

Prosecutors had presented all evidence by noon and rested their case shortly after the lunch break, the secretary said. Moffett then made a motion for acquittal and Nibert granted it.

Moffett was the principal at Point Pleasant Intermediate School. He was called to the school bus on March 21 after Plants refused change seats or get off the bus.

Moffett was accused of grabbing the boy and pushing him down the bus aisle and steps then pinning him, placing a hand and knee on the boy's back, to the sidewalk.

The boy had a scratch on his face from the incident. His parents took him to a local emergency room before filing a complaint with the Point Pleasant Police Department.

A portion of a video of the incident was circulated around the Internet around the time of Moffett's arrest.

His attorney Jim Lees told the Daily Mail last year that the child's family tried to skew the incident by only releasing portions of the video. They said the full video would show the boy taking a swing at Moffett.

Moffett was removed from his position at the intermediate school and was assigned to the school system's maintenance department. The state Department of Education's website listed him under Mason County Schools staff as "director/coordinator (supportive services)."

Calls to the county schools office were not immediately returned.

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