Prairie du Chien principal headed to trial on abuse charge

A packed courtroom heard testimony from the detective in the case of a Prairie du Chien principal accused of abusing a student. 

A court hearing Thursday afternoon looked to determine if there was enough evidence to hold a trial for Aaron Amundson. 

He’s the principal at Bluff View Intermediate School. He’s charged with felony child abuse after he used a chemical cleaner to remove a swear word on a student’s hand on March 21. The boy later told investigators that the chemical "…started to bubble on his skin and felt a burning sensation."

The boy told his mother three days later the hand was still hurting. She took him to a local emergency room where a doctor said the child had a bad chemical burn. 

Amundson was charged in April with the felony. He was placed on non-disciplinary leave following the incident. 

Earlier in May, Crawford County Judge Lynn Rider ruled Amundson could return to work but no direct contact with the student. Incidental contact was allowed in the ruling. 

Before Thursday’s testimony, both the prosecution and defense filed motions in the case. Prosecutors asked that Judge Rider recuse herself from the case based on her knowing the defendant. That motion was denied. 

The defense motion, also denied, asked that the judge dismiss the case based on a lack of evidence in the criminal complaint pointing to Amundson acting criminally reckless.

Testimony came from the detective who interviewed both the student and Amundson. Prairie du Chien Police Detective Ashley Erickson told the court that the when she looked at the chemical used by Amundson on the student, she did not see any kind of caustic warning symbol on the bottle.  

She also used the initials of the child, which brought another objection from the defense. Attorney Corey Chirafisi that people would now know the identity of the student and wanted the charges dismissed on those grounds.

Prosecutors countered that if that happened, they would simply refile the charges against Amundson. 

The judge then took a break to decide on the motion. 

After resuming court, Chirafisi said his client waived the objection knowing that prosecutors would bring the same charges.

Judge Rider reminded those in court that job in the hearing was not to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, it was to find probability that a felony was committed. She said the number of questions around the case made it hard for her to find that probability. However, Judge Rider eventually ruled that there was enough evidence to hold a trial for Amundson.

The next time Amundson is in court is June 12 for his arraignment. A trial date will be set at a later date.


PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Investigation underway over Prairie du Chien school incident

Mother of Prairie du Chien student shares anger over incident

Prairie du Chien principal charged with child abuse

Judge grants bond to allow Prairie du Chien principal to return to work

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