School Official Is Acquitted of Sex Abuse

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Prince George's County public school administrator was acquitted this week of charges that he sexually abused a 6-year-old boy at an elementary school where he was a vice principal.

After a weeklong trial, a jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Shadrick M. Woods, 41, not guilty Monday of child abuse and sexual offenses. Woods, who has been on unpaid leave for about a year, said later that he hopes to be reinstated.

"I can't tell you how happy I am to be exonerated," Woods said yesterday. "But at the same time, it's a sad day for caring educators. What message does [the prosecution] send to them? You are essentially taking a gamble if you try and do the job we are employed to do as educators."

His attorneys, Robert C. Bonsib and Megan Green, said there were significant inconsistencies in the testimony of the boy who accused Woods of groping him at Gaywood Elementary School in Seabrook.

Bonsib said that during cross-examination, the boy provided conflicting accounts, ranging from being touched inappropriately once to being touched every day of the week.

Bonsib said that by bringing the case, prosecutors "hurt an innocent man."

Ramon Korionoff, chief spokesman for State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, said in a statement: "We have a responsibility to protect children from harm. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for a 7-year-old to hold up under cross-examination from a seasoned defense attorney."

Korionoff said Woods admitted that he put his hands in the boy's pocket, that he regularly took the boy out of class and into his office, which he did with no other students, and that he had the boy into his office for breakfast on several occasions.

Testifying in his defense, Woods said he never touched the boy inappropriately, Bonsib said.

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