Plea deal gives former Williston teacher probation for sex crimes | Crime-and-courts

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A Williston man accused of sexually abusing female students while working as a teacher at a Catholic school in the city has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation and no further jail time under an agreement with the prosecutors.

The deal with Everest Moore was approved by all of the families of the victims, who were seeking closure after four years of litigation that included a state Supreme Court overturning Moore’s original conviction, according to Assistant Attorney General Britta. Demello Rice, the lead prosecutor.

“In this case, we had the cooperation of all eight parents,” she said, adding that “the families of the victims just wanted to put this behind them.”

Defense attorney Elizabeth Ledgerwood Pendlay said her client also asked for closure after the lengthy case, as well as the ability to focus on being a father.

“It was our desire to complete the action to make it easier for everyone involved to shut down and ensure that he remains… available for his family,” she said.

Moore, 32, was arrested in March 2018 and charged with inappropriately touching eight students between the ages of 8 and 10 for two years while working as a physical education and technology teacher at the Catholic school St.Joseph. All eight girls testified during his six-day trial in October 2019.

A jury found Moore guilty of eight counts of gross sexual imposition. He was sentenced in February 2020 to serve 10 years in prison, but the North Dakota Supreme Court in March 2021 overturned the convictions, ruling that his right to a public trial had been violated when a judge closed the courtroom. Hearing for Jury Selection and Jury Discussions. instructions.

Last year, the attorney general’s office asked the Supreme Court to rehear the case, but the judges denied the request. A new trial was scheduled for next August.

On April 25, Moore pleaded guilty to all eight sex crime counts under a plea agreement with prosecutors, according to court documents. Each charge carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but 574 days suspended and credited for the 574 days he had served – just over a year and a half. He will be on probation for six years and will have to register as a sex offender.

Taking a case to court is always risky, and the girls should have testified a second time, Demello Rice said.

“We thought it was a reasonable resolution,” she said, noting that Moore can no longer teach and that “there will be eyes on him while he’s in the community.”

The Board of Educational Standards and Practices of North Dakota revoked Moore’s teaching license in October 2019, according to executive director Rebecca Pitkin.

Moore also acknowledged the “great risk” of a lawsuit, Ledgerwood Pendlay said.

“This process hasn’t been easy for anyone, including Everest,” she said.

She declined to say if Moore works anywhere, citing privacy.

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