PRESTON — The Southeast Idaho biology teacher who pleaded not guilty to an animal cruelty charge is back in the classroom.
Robert Crosland, who is accused of feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students, is again teaching at Preston Junior High School, the Idaho State Journal reported Sunday.
The Journal also reported that court documents reveal a failed attempt by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office to have Crosland’s forthcoming trial transferred to another county.
Idaho Deputy Attorney General David Morse told District Judge David C. Hooste that a local “rallying cry” to support Crosland would make seating an unbiased jury a “difficult task,” the Journal reported.
“This office’s investigation has determined that almost all members of the community support (Crosland) and his actions,” Morse said in the written motion to Hooste.
Morse asked Hooste to either transfer Crosland’s upcoming trial to another county or to allow jurors from outside of Franklin County to decide the case.
Host denied Morse’s request, the Journal reported, ruling instead to allow the teacher’s Oct. 26 jury trial to remain in Franklin County.
Many in the local community have rallied around the embattled teacher, arguing that the flood of national media coverage has vilified him unfairly. Online petitions have garnered thousands of signatures in support of Crosland.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office began investigating the March 8 incident after Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Vic Pearson cited a conflict of interest. Wasden’s office charged Crosland with animal cruelty in June.
State officials confiscated and euthanized the turtle during the investigation.
Idaho law stipulates that animal cruelty is punishable to by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine for first-time offenders.
For more details, click here to read the Idaho State Journal’s full article.