Gym Teacher Quits Amid New Whispers Last Week, Jurors Acquitted Him Of Fondling A Student, But They Had Doubts. Now Others Have Come Forward.

Posted: October 13, 1995

A Pennsbury School District gym teacher who was acquitted last week of fondling a 15-year-old student resigned Wednesday after school district authorities allegedly confronted him with new accusations of sexual misconduct.

District spokesman Elliott Alexander and the gym teacher's attorney would say nothing yesterday except that David Pearson resigned for personal reasons.

"(The resignation) seems like the only way me and my wife can get on with our life," Pearson, 26, said yesterday in a telephone interview. He would not comment further.

On Oct. 4, a jury found Pearson not guilty of indecent assault and corruption of minors. Those charges were filed in March after the girl told authorities that Pearson had lifted her skirt, patted her buttocks, and asked to see her underwear in a hallway at Medill Bair Intermediate School.

Pearson, who taught health and gym at the school for nearly two years, was suspended shortly after police were notified.

His attorney, Marc Neff, said last week after the acquittal that ''hopefully, (Pearson) will be back in school soon."

Assistant District Attorney Michael Parlow confirmed reports yesterday that a teacher at Medill Bair and another student told school district authorities on Wednesday that Pearson had sexually harassed them.

Parlow confirmed that Pearson, of Fallsington, resigned later that day after school district officials asked him about the allegations.

Parlow said that neither the police nor the District Attorney's Office had been contacted by the school district with formal complaints.

Pennsbury Superintendent Kathleen L. Fitton's secretary said Fitton was not commenting about the resignation.

The jury had difficulty reaching a verdict, as two incidents since the acquittal demonstrate.

The girl's mother said that after the verdict, a crying juror approached the girl and apologized for the decision. Parlow confirmed that. Then on Monday, the girl received a 14-karat gold locket in the mail with a letter in which the writer said he believed her testimony. The letter asked the girl not to lose faith in the jury system and was signed "me plus six."

Parlow confirmed the existence of the letter and the locket and said he suspected "me plus six" represented seven jurors who believed the girl's testimony.

The 12-person jury deliberated for nearly six hours before unanimously reaching a not-guilty verdict. At one point they announced that they could not reach a unanimous decision, but the judge sent them back.

Five of the 12 jurors who could be reached for comment yesterday said they knew nothing about the locket or the note. Four said that they believed something happened between Pearson and the girl but that the case was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt. All said there was not enough evidence.

Pearson testified that the girl had commented about his underwear in the hallway. He said he reprimanded her, then changed the subject to avoid further embarrassment. That is what he told the principal later that day after being informed of the girl's accusations.

"A lot of people believed her story, but there wasn't enough evidence," said one juror, Eleanor M. Durie, in a telephone interview.

Another juror, Alison M. Creighton, said the jury agonized over whom to believe. But in the end, she said, there was not enough evidence to convict Pearson.

"We believe that something happened because she wouldn't have taken it to that length," Creighton said. "It was difficult. But we didn't think the evidence was clear or sufficient."

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