KALISPELL (AP) – A man accused of molesting children at the Whitefish preschool he supervised has been acquitted on one count of sexual assault, but jurors were unable to reach verdicts on four other counts.
Jurors deliberated for more than six hours Thursday in the case of David Farr, who supervised Children’s House Montessori. Farr, 37, was accused of molesting boys who attended the preschool between late 2004 and late 2005.
After the jury told District Judge Stewart Stadler on Thursday night there was no verdict on four of the charges, prosecutors did not say immediately how they would proceed.
Farr testified Thursday and denied any wrongdoing.
He said he has worked with preschoolers because he likes “being a part of the future” and “spending time with the children in their play, their innocence.”
He became the administrator of Children’s House Montessori three years ago. He said there were complaints that he spent too much time with the children and not enough on administrative work, but the complaints subsided.
“I considered myself ultimately responsible for the well-being of every child in that place,” Farr said, adding that he sometimes left his office to help the staff comfort children who had cried for a long time or were “beyond the normal meltdown of a 2-year-old.”
He touched no child inappropriately, he said, and consistent with the preschool’s policy, he never changed diapers or accompanied children in the bathroom. He said he almost never went into the nap room. It was alleged that misconduct occurred there.
An investigation began in October 2005 when parents of a 2-year-old boy told authorities the child claimed Farr molested him. More allegations then emerged.
Farr said the children were questioned in ways that led them to say “bizarre things,” but prosecutor Dan Guzynski said information from the boys was factual.
“It is inexplicable how these five kids, who are separate and apart, came to make these statements,” Guzynski said.
“At the end of the day, did defense attorneys really discredit any of these witnesses?” he asked the jury.
Defense attorney Phyllis Quatman said that “the changes between what these mothers said in their initial interviews and what they said in court are because there is embellishment.”
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