A year ago, Catherine Armstrong Bell was a successful high school principal who devoted her life to teaching America’s youth. Then one day in December of 2013, she woke up to find that everything she had worked for was gone when she was falsely accused of having sex with one of her students.
An indictment passed last May accused Bell of having a sexual affair with one of her male students between December 2012 and November of 2013. She was charged with three counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a student younger than 18, and one count of touching a student.
Last week, DNA evidence came back negative, and Bell’s accuser admitted that the whole thing never happened. The judge dismissed the case on Monday, ruling that Bell can never face charges for this incident in the future.
This comes as a small comfort to Bell, whose attorney, Rick Lyerly, says lost her job, sold her home, and moved in with her mother in the wake of the accusations. He believes that Bell is the real victim in this case, adding that she hasn’t been able to find any work.
“Our position was always that she was wrongfully accused, that these events never occurred,” Lyerly said. “I think once all the evidence was gathered and presented to the District Attorney’s Office, they did the right thing and agreed to the dismissal.”
“The District Attorney’s got more important things to do than fool with cases that have no merit,” the lawyer added. “I think this was the right result and nobody wants to see teachers take advantage of students. But when the teacher did nothing wrong and still gets charged, it makes a sad story.”
“She is actually the real victim in this case.”
As for Bell, she said that the experience has devastated her.
“I dedicated and invested a large part of my life into doing that. And I loved doing what I did,” she said with tears in her eyes. “To wake up and have that all taken away and gone, and have people say the things that they said about me, that were not true. And to have people turn their back on you really hurt.”
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H/T: Daily Mail