February 5, 2023
Former instructor accused of kid sexual assault seeks to keep away from trial
Former instructor accused of kid sexual assault seeks to keep away from trial
Peter Hirzel seems remotely for his listening to on Friday, Oct. 14, at Bennington Superior prison courtroom. Screenshot

A former personal faculty instructor charged with aggravated youngster sexual assault is attempting to avert a trial by negotiating a take care of prosecutors.

The defendant, Peter Hirzel, is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a teenage woman at his dwelling in Pownal between August 2021 and January 2022. 

Police mentioned Hirzel, 60, met the woman whereas working at Pine Cobble College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, the place he’d been her math instructor from grades six to eight. He labored there from 2018 till March 2021.

Hirzel has pleaded not responsible to the felony offense, which is punishable by 25 years to life in jail. In February, the Bennington Superior Courtroom allowed him to be launched from jail on a $100,000 bond and positioned below home arrest whereas awaiting trial.

At a listening to on Friday, protection legal professional David Silver mentioned he and the prosecutor, Deputy State’s Legal professional Alex Burke, try to resolve Hirzel’s case to keep away from a trial.

“Mr. Burke and I are working cooperatively collectively to attempt to keep away from placing the complainant and/or her household via the tough technique of depositions and trial,” Silver mentioned. “We expect that is in all people’s greatest curiosity.”

He mentioned Burke will communicate with the woman and her household concerning the potential decision. Neither Silver nor the prosecution offered extra particulars on it.

If the negotiations break down, Silver mentioned, the case could be prepared for trial round April of subsequent 12 months. The following standing listening to on Hirzel’s case is scheduled for Feb. 10.

In the meantime, Hirzel’s dwelling detention has been lowered from 24 hours to 21 hours a day, in line with courtroom information. Since late July, he has been allowed out of the home from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every single day. His different situations of launch embody not having contact with any underage feminine exterior his household.

After he was charged, Pine Cobble College employed an outdoor lawyer to analyze Hirzel’s tenure on the personal faculty. In August, its board of trustees instructed the varsity neighborhood that the investigation “discovered no proof of sexual misconduct by Peter Hirzel previous to or throughout his employment at Pine Cobble.”

The board, within the electronic mail, additionally mentioned the varsity carried out prison document background checks on Hirzel within the technique of hiring him.

Hirzel, a former architect and graphic designer, had been a instructor for round 17 years, his former spouse instructed the courtroom in a earlier listening to. His employers included the Los Angeles Unified College District and New Roads College, a non-public Ok-12 faculty in Santa Monica, California.

Pine Cobble College, which opened in 1937, teaches college students from age 3 via eighth grade. Its college students come from western Massachusetts, southern Vermont and jap New York, in line with its web site, with 148 college students enrolled within the 2019-20 faculty 12 months.

Keep on high of all of Vermont’s prison justice information. Join right here to get a weekly electronic mail with all of VTDigger’s reporting on courts and crime.

Do you know VTDigger is a nonprofit?

Our journalism is made doable by member donations. For those who worth what we do, please contribute and assist hold this important useful resource accessible to all.

Leave a Reply