Teacher accused of assault fights extradition

A former teacher accused of sexually assaulting a local student is fighting his extradition back to Bermuda from the United States.

The American citizen, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is in custody in Alabama.

In the accused’s appeal against extradition, his defence counsel cited a “negligent, even indifferent delay” on the part of local authorities in pursuing the case, which dates back to May 2007.

The accused was teaching at one of Bermuda’s public high schools when he was alleged to have assaulted a female student.

He was suspended from his job the same day, but flew to the US before police could question him.

The accused was charged in July 2007 but a warrant was not issued until 2011, after The Royal Gazette reported he had been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse while teaching in Alabama.

A jury in the US failed to indict him, and charges were dropped until local authorities were informed in December last year that the accused was aboard a cruise ship returning to Mobile, Alabama.

A fresh warrant was issued, and a new extradition request lodged.

The accused was arrested in Alabama in July 2017, but defence lawyers argued that Bermuda authorities had been negligent in failing to search for him for four years after the alleged offence, including failing to use the services of Interpol.

Specifics of the case had “apparently remained in a file cabinet” with the charging document allowed to collect dust”, the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama heard last week.

Defence lawyers have called on the court to dismiss Bermuda’s extradition request and free the accused, arguing that Bermuda’s delay in action undermined the case for his detention.

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