Jury acquits substitute teacher in child abuse case

By From page A4 | April 19, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A substitute teacher’s nightmare ended Friday when a four-day jury trial ended with quick not guilty verdicts on four child abuse charges involving four second-graders at David A. Weir Elementary School.

Joe Yow, 52, of Suisun City, was arrested by Fairfield police at his home on Oct. 19, 2012, the day after the four children told their parents, who in turn told police, that Yow had grabbed them by their necks and throats in two separate incidents at the school.

The children, all ages 7 or 8, each testified at the trial, giving contradictory and sometimes implausible accounts of what had happened. One child claimed Yow had grabbed one girl in a headlock and then grabbed two boys in other headlocks before banging their heads together and hurling them against a wall.

Yow testified he had touched the children, all labeled by the regular teacher as “trouble students,” on their arms or shoulders as he directed them to the classroom or to the playground. Yow’s defense attorney, Vince Maher, and Judge Robert Bowers both repeatedly reminded jurors that state law gives teachers the same right as parents to touch children appropriately.

The prosecutor from the District Attorney’s Office, a volunteer who got her bar card five months ago, told jurors the children’s’ accounts of what happened was believable. She used the words “from the mouths of babes” in supporting her assertion that was rejected by the jury.

Yow lost his longtime teaching job because of the filing of the criminal charges, Maher said.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 4 comments

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  • S KApril 19, 2014 - 6:40 am

    Innocent until proven guilty is the way this country is supposed to work. Those kids were probably extremely unruly (I know, I was one of them, back in the day, when we had a sub>>LOL), so probably deserved a size whatever foot up their rears. Anyway, Mr Yow was found NOT GUILTY, so offer him his job back, or if I were him, the school district would be facing a law suit, a VERY LARGE LAWSUIT!!!!!

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  • Fed UpApril 19, 2014 - 8:51 am

    As a friend of the defendant, I sat through the trial. It was disturbing. Mr. Yow is the nicest man ever. He wouldn't harm anyone and his version of events was credible. The accusers were a bunch of ghetto rats who couldn't even remember what happened. One of the "alleged victims" wasn't even interviewed by police until right before he was going to take the witness stand. The illustrious Fairfield Police conducted NO investigation. hey arrested Mr. Yow based on complaints of some 7 year old kids who's stories were unbelievable and inconsistent. Then Mr. duBain's office files charges. The school district fires Mr. Yow and Mr. Yow, who is on a fixed income, has to post bail, hire an attorney and a private investigator. Mr. duBain took this case so seriously, he assigns it to a brand new prosecutor who's a volunteer. Nobody took into consideration as to how this was going to affect Mr. Yow's life. Shame on all of you. Mr. Yow was a outstanding teacher as was described by all of the character witnesses. These hooligans will soon all be on trial for something themselves. The District Attorney's Office and the Fairfield Police ruined Mr. Yows career. Prior to this, not one complaint. Glad Mr. duBain was able to get some training for his volunteer. Thank You to Mr. Maher who "schooled" that young prosecutor and to Judge Bowers who saw through the crap for what this case really was.

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  • Rich GiddensApril 19, 2014 - 12:26 pm

    Daily Republic editor, publisher and story writer----this all sounds familiar. Except in the case against me, you won't state I was acquitted nor will you state that my federal lawsuit says I was assaulted by the cops in front of TV cameras before they falsely arrested me on a charge that wasn't true. In my opinion, you are horribly and unforgivingly biased and are engaged in LIBEL.

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  • mescApril 19, 2014 - 2:14 pm

    What we need are charges against the parents. This is what happens when kids are bred for the purpose of getting welfare. ""all labeled by the regular teacher as “trouble students""

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