PROVO — A former Utah County gym teacher pleaded guilty to a second-degree child abuse charge for body-slamming a student to the ground during an altercation.
That incident took place on April 18 at Rockwell Charter High School in Eagle Mountain. On Monday, 41-year-old Anthony Chidester said he blew up after a student disrespected him.
“To the charge of second-degree child abuse…what is your plea?” asked the Judge in a Provo courtroom. “Guilty,” Chidester said.
Chidester then apologized in court to the victim.
“I want to apologize to the victim — he and his family,” Chidester said. “I made a horrible mistake that I’ve regretted every second of every day since. I didn’t want that to happen to the student and I just want to apologize for that action.”
Chidester showed up in court after a last-minute plea deal that put an end to a three-day trial that was supposed to start Wednesday.
By pleading guilty to the felony child abuse, Chidester will avoid jail time. After two years, his charge will be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor — if he keeps a clean record.
The victim’s mother believed that was the best option.
“She wanted this to just be done so they could focus on the holidays and family instead of coming in to testify,” said Utah County Deputy Attorney Craig Johnson. “We ended up coming to a deal that keeps her son off the stand and other teenage students off the stand and ultimately I think it’s in the interest of justice we got it done.”
Rockwell Charter High School fired Chidester after the incident. His attorney believed this was also the best way to end this case.
“I think it was a very fair resolution considering Mr. Chidester’s prior lack of record. There were multiple bruises [on the boy] but nothing I would consider a life-threating injury,” said defense attorney Michael Petro. “He got into an altercation where the student shoved him and he took it too far after that.”