Redwood City Teacher Avoids Charges of Child Cruelty under CA Penal Code 11164

Alexia Bogdis was arrested a little over a year ago for allegedly slapping a 5-year-old child, depriving another child of food, twisting the child’s arm, and kicking his chair. Recently, however, all witnesses have recanted their statements, claiming that they must have misinterpreted what they saw. Bogdis has remained on administrative leave, along with 8 others from the Redwood City school district, for the occurrence.

The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 prevents the harassment of or discrimination against students on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

However, it is California Penal Code,  §11164 that makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to exhibit “willful cruelty,” mete out “unjustifiable punishment,” or to cause “physical injury by any other than accidental means.”  Bogdis claims that what happened in Redwood City was just that – an accident.  If, however, witnesses had not recanted, Bogdis would continue to face a sentence of 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.  The fact that she was a Special Education teacher is what probably caused the media blitz concerning this case.

Bogdis’s 2012 arrest on 5 counts of child cruelty and 4 counts of battery on school grounds (covered by CA Penal Code, § 240-243) carries with it the same 6 months sentence and $1,000 fine.

The Bogdis case reminds us that the media often presents a one-sided story.  When the true facts eventually come out, the reputation of the person accused is already ruined. Remember – everyone is innocent unless proven guilty and each side must present their case in the best possible light. It is challenges such as these that the criminal defense attorneys at Summit Defense take on everyday.