Exonerated Teacher Resigns, Releases Statement Calling For Cameras In Classrooms

Exonerated Teacher Resigns, Releases Statement Calling For Cameras In Classrooms
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POCOMOKE — William A. Cathell, Jr., the Worcester County Public School teacher who was exonerated by a Worcester County Circuit Court last month of all charges stemming from allegations levied by former students, has resigned from teaching at Pocomoke Middle School.

“Having proven my innocence in a court of law, I have formally tendered my resignation to Worcester County Public Schools,” said Cathell in a written statement distributed to media outlets. “I have decided that it is now time for me to move on to another career outside the field of public education.”

On March 18, the judge dismissed two cases against Cathell, which accounted for 12 of the 24 charges against which included sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor.  Cathell was found not guilty by a unanimous jury on the other 12 counts.

Cathell’s statement, which was packaged with a smiling photo of he and his wife, spoke candidly about the experience.

“I have lost so much that is irreplaceable,” Cathell’s statements read, “I cannot begin to convey the extent of those losses or the magnitude of devastation that being branded by these falsehoods has wrought. It will be a life long struggle to repair the damage and rebuild my reputation and my life.”

Cathell had been a Spanish and foreign language teacher in Worcester County Public Schools for 10 years before the allegations were made last June. He was charged in August of the aforementioned 24 counts and was placed on administrative leave by WCPS while his case was adjudicated.

Following Cathell’s acquittal, WCPS administration said in a statement that they would be “evaluating Mr. Cathell’s employment status”, and while nothing has been reported about that evaluation, or if Cathell’s decision has any link to WCPS’s findings in that evaluation, Cathell’s letter shows he wants to put the situation, and teaching, behind him.

“My wife and I are extremely grateful to the parents, students, friends, family, churches, and other community members who stood by us and showed their support,” reads Cathell’s statement. “Times like these reveal who your true friends are and they mean the world to us, forever having a place in our hearts.”

Interestingly, the final paragraph of Cathell’s letter reads like a call to action for his former employer to ensure more transparency in the classroom.

“I implore WCPS and all school districts to install cameras in all classrooms, for the protection of both teachers and students, and to prevent potential future incidents of false allegations,” Cathell said.

(The following is Cathell’s statementin its entirety.)

“Having proven my innocence in a court of law, I have formally tendered my resignation to Worcester County Public Schools.  I have decided that it is now time for me to move on to another career outside the field of public education.  

“On Friday, March 18, 2016 a Worcester County Circuit Court judge threw out 2 cases, accounting for 12 of the 24 charges against me. After about ninety minutes of deliberation, I was found not guilty of the other 2 cases and those 12 counts by a unanimous jury.

“I have lost so much that is irreplaceable.  I cannot begin to convey the extent of those losses or the magnitude of devastation that being branded by these falsehoods has wrought. It will be a life long struggle to repair the damage and rebuild my reputation and my life.

“My wife and I are extremely grateful to the parents, students, friends, family, churches, and other community members who stood by us and showed their support.  Times like these reveal who your true friends are and they mean the world to us, forever having a place in our hearts.
“I implore WCPS and all school districts to install cameras in all classrooms, for the protection of both teachers and students, and to prevent potential future incidents of false allegations.”

About The Author: Bryan Russo

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Bryan Russo returned to The Dispatch in 2015 to serve as News Editor after working as a staff writer from 2007-2010 covering the Ocean City news beat. In between, Russo worked as the Coastal Reporter for NPR-member station WAMU 88.5FM in Washington DC and WRAU 88.3 FM on the Delmarva Peninsula. He was the host of a weekly multi-award winning public affairs show “Coastal Connection.” During his five years in public radio, Russo’s work won 19 Associated Press Awards and 2 Edward R. Murrow Awards and was heard on various national programs like NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, APM’s Marketplace and the BBC. Russo also worked for the Associated Press (Philadelphia Bureau) covering the NHL and the NBA and is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and composer.