A jury in a Dorchester County court on Wednesday found a Montessori School of the Arts teacher not guilty of charges that she cruelly treated the children in her care.
The incidents that led to the charges against Lystra Inga Zerba, of Curico Lane, are said to have occurred between August 2012 and Feb. 8.
In an incident report, a teacher assistant alleged that Zerba on several occasions locked upset four-year-old students in a dark bathroom and forced them to sit on the floor. The assistant also alleged that Zerba forced a child to eat, and when the child refused, she held the child’s head back until she swallowed. She’s also accused of putting duct tape on a boy’s mouth.
Zerba’s lawyer, Thomas Rode said that a jury found Zerba innocent because “there was simply no evidence to support the allegations.”
Rode said that the mother of one of the children Zerba is accused of abusing spoke out in court on the woman’s behalf.
“The allegation was that (Zerba) put a child in time out,” Rode said. “(The mother) didn’t think that was a crime.”