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Principal charged with not reporting abuse

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) – A Wisconsin elementary principal has been charged a second time with mishandling a 2011 child abuse report.

Richard J. Waters, 50, principal of Janet Berry Elementary School in Appleton, was charged last week with misdemeanor counts of obstructing police and failure to report child abuse.

Police told Post-Crescent Media that Waters didn’t report allegations against a special education teacher in a timely fashion, contradicted another witness’ statement and altered a letter before handing it over to officers.

Waters’ attorney, Len Kachinsky, says the principal did not mean to hamper police efforts.

“I simply don’t understand what the point of it is, and we intend to do everything necessary to get it dismissed at the earliest possible moment,” Kachinsky said.

A judge dismissed a November 2011 charge of obstructing officers against Waters, saying charging documents didn’t show the principal intended to deceive police.

The charges related to an investigation of former special education teacher Mary Berglund, who was accused of rough treatment of disabled students. In one instance, Berglund shoved two tissues into a boy’s mouth after wiping his nose, according to a criminal complaint.

Police say school officials learned of the allegations five days before notifying child protection workers and did not provide enough information for an investigation to be opened for another two weeks.

Berglund was sentenced to three years of probation after pleading no contest to five misdemeanor battery charges. A judge also ordered her teaching license revoked.

Information from: Post-Crescent Media,

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