WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Five staff members from Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, including the principal, pleaded not guilty Thursday after the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the educators failed to report the suspected sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.
During a court hearing Thursday, attorneys for principal Darren Edgecomb, 58, assistant principal Daniel Snider, 49, assistant principal Nereyda Cayado De Garcia, 57, chorus teacher Scott Houchins, 53, and school behavioral therapist Priscilla Carter, 55, entered not guilty pleas on behalf of their clients.
One of those attorneys told WPTV he doesn't believe a crime was committed, despite what the arrest reports claim.
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According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office investigation, the five school employees were all alerted, in some form, about the suspected sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in Lake Worth Beach on April 2, 2021.
However, the sheriff's office said none of the educators reported the allegations to law enforcement or the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The suspects are all facing charges of failure to report sexual abuse.
Snider has filed a motion to dismiss the charge because, in part, he does not believe the suspect, his own son, had committed a crime, according to a court filing.
Snider's motion claims the assistant principal did not have "reasonable cause to suspect" that a sexual assault had happened, and therefore, he was not required to report the accusations under state law.
The court said Thursday it will set a hearing on that motion.
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All five staff members are scheduled to have their next hearing in the case on Jan. 4.