Janet Berry Elementary principal Richard Waters reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. He pleaded no contest to a charge of disorderly conduct. Waters is being fined $100, but prosecution on a charge of failing to report child abuse was deferred, meaning that charge will be dropped unless he does not follow the terms of the deal.
The charges are related to a 2011 investigation into former special education teacher Mary Berglund at Janet Berry. Berglund was sentenced to three years’ probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor battery charges.
Police say Waters failed to come forward with the reports in a timely manner, made a statement contrary to information provided by another witness and altered a letter regarding the case. Waters, of Neenah, was initially charged with obstructing officers in November 2011. The case was dismissed, but prosecutors retained the ability to refile charges.
In a letter to Janet Berry parents, Appleton Area School District Superintendent Lee Allinger wrote, "Mr. Water’s return to Berry principal is consistent with the district’s position that there has not been any wrongdoing on the part of Principal Waters."
The letter goes on to detail the district's process of determining that Waters did nothing wrong.
District leaders say they "fully (support)" Waters as he returns to the principal's job.