Educator convicted of assault - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Educator convicted of assault

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - An argument over a tablet computer led to the conviction of a Henrico school administrator for assault.

64-year-old Julia Cothron got into a heated argument with a staffer in June at the Math and Science Innovation Center in Eastern Henrico. 

One of Cothron's staffers was using a tablet computer during a meeting this summer. Things got ugly when Cothron started yelling at the staff member to put it away. That's when some accidental contact turned into assault charges.

Cothron is the executive director at the Math and Science Innovation Center. This entire ordeal started when Cothron objected to another staff member using a tablet computer during a meeting in June.

Witnesses testified that Cothron pulled the staff member outside and then started yelling right up in her face.

Then Cothron either brushed the staffer with her finger or bumped her forearm during her rant. That was the extent of the contact between the too.

Ellen Mooradian is the staffer that filed the assault charges. She says she was afraid Cothron would hurt her, and that Cothron was so angry she was spitting in her face as she yelled at her.

"I think it's a sad day for everyone in the school system," Mooradian said while leaving the courthouse. "I think it's just a sad day."

Cothron's attorney asked the assault charges to be dismissed, arguing the contact between them was not intentional. But a judge agreed with prosecutors that it doesn't matter if the contact was intentional or not, it's still assault.

Cothron claims she never raised her voice and never touched anyone despite several witnesses saying they saw and heard the argument. The judge said Cothron probably just wants to remember the argument that way.

Cothron was sentenced to thirty days in jail, all of it suspended. Her attorney told reporters he plans to appeal the conviction.

The awkward part is both Cothron and the victim still work together at the Math and Science Innovation Center.

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