Former teaches pleads to striking girl | NevadaAppeal.com

Former teaches pleads to striking girl

F.T. Norton
ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com

A former Empire Elementary School teacher who resigned in light of allegations that he struck a 9-year-old girl in the head with a book, pleaded no contest to the charge of misdemeanor battery Thursday.

Dan Porath, 55, apologized for his actions when entering the no-contest plea before Carson City Justice of the Peace Robey Willis.

“I apologize for everything. I have suffered, too,” he said, noting he was on the brink of losing his home.

According to court documents, on Dec. 18, Porath struck the victim causing her to bite into her lower lip.

The girl’s parents informed the school and called police on Dec. 19.

Superintendent Richard Stokes said at the time that Porath was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Defense Attorney Keith Loomis said his client has since resigned from his position with the school district.

“He acknowledges he overreacted by knocking the child in the back of the head with a book,” said Loomis, explaining Porath was simply trying to get the girl’s attention.

Loomis said in Porath’s nearly two decades of teaching, he had only one other such incident in 2007 in which he was counseled by the school district.

While Deputy District Attorney Melanie Porter requested that Porath receive a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail, Loomis asked that the judge consider putting off Porath’s sentence and possibly dismiss the charge so he could eventually reinstate his teaching license.

Willis opted for the middle ground and sentenced Porath to a suspended jail sentence. But he also set a court hearing for June 29, 2010, to look at the case and see if Porath received anger management counseling, stayed away from elementary school children and followed the terms of his probation.

“Parents and children put their faith and their trust in our education system.” Porter said. “And what he did is not acceptable.”