School psychologist cleared of failing to report sex abuse

AP News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2018 5:29 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A school psychologist has been acquitted on a charge of failing to report a sexual assault allegation to child welfare authorities.

The Providence Journal reports that George Blessing, a Cranston High School West psychologist, was cleared this week following a bench trial before District Court Magistrate Joseph Ippolito Jr.

Blessing was charged in April for failing to report that a student told him she was sexually assaulted by a science teacher.

It's the first trial involving the reporting law since it was revised in 2016 following abuse revelations at St. George's School in Middletown.

Blessing's lawyer says the girl said the teacher slapped her buttocks. He says it didn't occur to Blessing that it constituted sex abuse.

Three other girls later reported the science teacher assaulted them. He has pleaded not guilty.