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Teen cleared of assault charge in Mount Si locker room beating

A Snoqualmie Valley teen has been found innocent of assault charges in a court case that stemmed from last fall's Mount Si High School locker room beating.

On Wednesday, Aug. 11, King County Juvenile Court Judge Chris Washington found the boy not guilty of second degree assault in connection with the Nov. 6, 2009, incident, which he characterized as a fight.

The brawl left a Mount Si freshman with a fractured skull, broken tooth and a concussion.

The cleared boy, who was a 16-year-old junior at the time of the incident, is now a senior at Two Rivers High School in North Bend.

According to media reports, Washington noted witness reports that the younger boy had been taunting another student and challenged the older boy before he threw a punch.

Snoqualmie police reports stated that the victim and another boy were confronting each other in the locker room when the junior heard the argument. He told police that he heard the younger boy, who he did not know, "talking trash," walked past him and told him to "tone it down." He told police that the younger boy offered to fight him, too. The two squared off, and he punched the younger boy once in the face. However, witnesses later told police that they saw the junior punch the boy multiple times, as well as kick or knee him.

According to the younger boy's mother's account, he had been standing up for a friend, who had been taunted by other students over the last few weeks by other students. That bullying was not reported to school staff.

The case raised concerns about the Snoqualmie Valley School District's response to bullying incidents. An external investigator looked into the district's handling of the victim, who did not return to school until January 2010, in the aftermath.

Private investigator Daphne Schneider, found that staff at the high school were focused on the victim's safety in the aftermath of the beating, but notes that 911 was not called until more than 30 minutes after the boy was found. She also found deep issues of mistrust by the victim and his mother for members of the school administration.

The incident also spurred involved in local schools by the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice, which acts as a mediator and facilitator in community conflicts. A spokesman for CRS told the Valley Record that confidentiality rules prevent him from revealing whether the agency remains active in Snoqualmie schools.

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