LUBBOCK – A former West Texas state school principal accused of sexually abusing inmates has been acquitted.
Jurors reportedly deliberated for about six hours Monday night and into the early morning hours of Tuesday, before returning not guilty verdicts on the 14 counts against John Paul Hernandez.
Hernandez was accused of molesting teenagers in darkened classrooms, closets and storage rooms in 2004 and 2005 at the Pyote school.
Hernandez maintained he was not guilty all along, saying the teens made up the the stories of sexual abuse to try and get transferred.
In closing arguments on Monday, defense attorneys told jurors, prosecutors had no physical evidence – no DNA, no fingerprints, no crime scene photos and no witnesses.
Hernandez was facing up to 20 years behind bars had he been convicted.