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Martinsburg middle school teacher charged with battery

October 03, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Berkeley County Schools physical education teacher has been charged with a misdemeanor count of battery that police allege stemmed from a locker room altercation that the instructor had last week with a 14-year-old student at Martinsburg North Middle School.

Richard B. Moore, 44, of 68 Dorset Drive in Martinsburg, was arraigned Thursday afternoon by Magistrate Jim Humphrey, who set a $2,500 bond.

Moore, who has been placed on administrative leave by the school district, appeared for the arraignment with his attorney, B. Craig Manford, according to school and court officials.

"Of course, Mr. Moore denies this charge against him," Manford wrote in an e-mail.

Manford wrote that his client has been a teacher and basketball coach for 21 years at both Martinsburg High School and Martinsburg North Middle School and annually volunteers to work with young people in the summer months.

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"He is a dedicated teacher, husband and father," wrote Manford, who also noted that Moore coached track at the high school. "He looks forward to defending these charges in court and we are all confident he will be acquitted."

The boy told police that Moore grabbed him in the boys locker room during a seventh-period class Sept. 22, according to a complaint filed by Martinsburg Police Department patrolman E.C. Neely.

Two other juveniles told Neely they saw Moore push the victim up against some lockers while he washed his hands, according to Neely's complaint. The witnesses said the student and teacher had been arguing about Moore telling the victim to "shut up," according to Neely's complaint.

The boy had bruising on his chest and scrapes on an elbow, according to the complaint. Several teachers and the school principal also were interviewed, Neely said.

Berkeley County Schools communications director Jaimee Borger said Thursday that the alleged incident is under investigation by the school district. She confirmed that Moore was still employed and being paid, which is according to school district policy.

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