Jury selected for abuse case involving area principal
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (WKBT) — A jury is ready to decide if an area principal is guilty or not guilty of one count of child abuse involving a student. Aaron Amundson of the Prairie du Chien area school district is accused of recklessly causing harm to a teenager.
More than 50 potential jurors were on hand to respond to questions from the judge and attorneys about the case. Tuesday’s jury selection was all about finding a fair and partial jury for what is expected to be a two-day trial.
Bluff View Intermediate School principal Aaron Amundson is accused of using gum remover spray and a scrub pad to get writing off a student’s hand in March. The 14-year-old was taken to the emergency room for a chemical burn, according to the criminal complaint.
“That is the matter that you will be trying this week,” said Judge Lynn Rider, who is presiding over the case at the Crawford County Circuit Court.
After reviewing the rules of conduct, the judge started to question 23 potential jurors.
“How do you know Mr. Amundson?” Rider asked jurors.
Five of the jurors said they knew him as their former teacher or coach, had a child in the district or worked with him.
“Is there anyone among you that has not heard read anything about this case?” Rider said.
Most prospective jurors said they read articles about the case, saw it on Facebook or have discussed it with others.
“So what I will need to know is whether you can set aside anything you may have heard or read and listen solely to the evidence presented at trial,” Rider said.
Some of the witnesses include the victim’s parents, a police officer, and other school district staff members. Jurors were asked if they knew any of them or were related in any way. But the jurors said they would not factor that into their decision process.
“I think we will follow up with you further individually. That’s all that I’m going to ask you for the moment,” Rider said.
After group questioning, Aaron Amundson, attorneys for the defense and prosecution met with the judge and potential jurors individually for further questioning.
Twelve jurors and one alternate juror were chosen around 4:30 p.m. The first day of the trial will begin Wednesday at 9 a.m, when attorneys are expected to give their opening arguments before testimony begins.
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