Trial starts for Prairie du Chien principal charged with child abuse

Prairie du Chien (WXOW)- Trial for Bluff View Intermediate School principal, Aaron Amundson, 43, started on Wednesday.

Amundson is faced with one charge of felony reckless child abuse. The Prairie du Chien principal is accused of using chemical cleaner to remove profanity written on a student’s hand. That cleaner caused a chemical burn that sent the child to the hospital. 

Both the defense and the State presented opening remarks at the Crawford County Courthouse on Wednesday morning to set the stage for the trial.

"The truth is the facts. What had happened is pretty simple," said Amy Forehand, Richland County Assistant District Attorney. "It’s pretty clear and pretty undisputed."

Even Amundson’s attorney admitted that his client used the gum remover to remove a profanity written in permanent marker from a 14-year-old student’s hand at the end of March.

"He will tell you that looking back on what happened, it was stupid and he shouldn’t have done it," said Corey Chirafisi, Amundson’s Attorney. "But at the end of the day, what it was was a mistake."

Chirafisi says the case comes down to proving a conscious awareness, that Amundson knew what he was doing would jeopardize the student’s safety.

"The question will become is that the evidence in the case," said Chirafisi. "Or is the evidence in the case what he did was foolish, dumb, and it was a mistake?"

Both the defense and the State called witnesses involved with the case, asking them to identify photos of the injury, the gum remover bottle, and the warnings on that bottle.

The Court also had its first chance to hear from the student who was injured. The child admitted to not telling Amundson about stinging felt from the chemical cleaner in an effort to look tough. The student also said he did not say anything to his parents about the incident, as he was afraid of what their reaction might be.

After hours of testimony and evidence review, Chirafisi once again asked for a motion to dismiss the case based on a lack of conscious awareness presented in the evidence. That motion, however, was ultimately denied.

The trial was originally scheduled to go through Friday; however, court officials expect a verdict to be delivered on Thursday afternoon. 

Amundson faces up to three and a half years in prison if convicted.

News 19 has chosen not to show video or name the student victim in an effort to protect his identity.

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