RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A jury has found Nancy Errichetti, the former headmistress of the Montessori School of Raleigh, not guilty in a trial related to children abused by a teacher while she was in charge.
The jury returned the verdict just before 5 p.m. on Monday. That's just hours after closing arguments concluded in the case.
Errichetti was previously indicted on charges of aiding and abetting taking indecent liberties with a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Those charges came after investigators learned she was aware of a teacher at the school acting inappropriately with a student.
That teacher was Nicholas Smith. Smith later pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges including statutory rape. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
For multiple years in the 2010s Smith, who taught math to middle and high school students, took advantage of multiple students. At least one of his victims was 13 years old when he began abusing her.
Investigators said Errichetti knew about some of these instances. She was in a position to act but failed to do so, potentially putting other students at risk.
Errichetti's defense team argued that she did not know about any physical assault Smith was committing against children. Her attorneys said she should not be criminally responsible for a tragic mistake and they were "very grateful" for the hard work of the jury.
"I am so grateful," Errichetti told ABC11 outside the courthouse after the verdict.