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Jim Walters Acquitted on Lewd and Indecent Conduct Charge

Jim Walters, the former principal of Point Elementary School, was found not guilty.

Last updated 4:11 p.m. - With comment from the school district

Jim Walters, the former Point Elementary principal facing a citation for lewd and indecent conduct, is not guilty, the judge in the case decided today.

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In his judgement, Judge Joseph Murphy questions the veracity of the park ranger who originally accused Walters. (Read the full judgement as a PDF in the media section of this article.)

"This sole witness in this case did not provide clear, convincing and unrefuted testimony," Murphy said, adding later that he could not side with the City's case without the testimony of "an experienced, well-trained officer who presents consistent and credible evidence of an offense."

On March 16, the ranger wrote that he "observed subject Walters grab his genitals while talking to a man in a vehicle who later confessed to what was happening," he stated in the ticket.

Murphy said the wording in the summons is not enough to indicate Walters broke the law.

"If this court took the words of the summons as presented, the courts for the city of St. Louis would be inundated with cases brought against athletes for such behavior," Murphy said.

Walter's attorney, Neil Bruntrager, called the ruling a "vindication," saying, "This poor guy needs some closure.

In court last month, Brutrager presented surveillance video of the two Forest Park locations where the incident was supposed to take place. However, the videos show no evidence of lewd or indecent conduct or of any contact between Walters and a man in a white car, to whom Walters was accused of gesturing, according to the judge's report.

The video "clearly, convincingly and totally refutes the park ranger's testimony as well as his report narrative and deposition," Murphy said.

The Mehlville School District said today they would not comment on personell matters, but Superintendent Eric Knost said the school stands by its previous decisions.

The Mehlville school board voted unanimously to fire Walters in a closed meeting June 21. Superintendent Eric Knost placed the principal on paid administrative leave in March, pending a district investigation. He issued a letter to parents two months later saying Walters would not return to Point.

Walters had been the principal since 2007.

Retired Beasley Principal Jim Schibig took over for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year. 

See Related Stories

  • Updated: New Principal Hired at Point Elementary; Walters No Longer Employed by District
  • Jim Walters Trial Delayed Until August
  • Jim Walters' Attorney: My Client is Innocent
  • Jim Walters Scheduled to Appear in Court Today
  • Superintendent Releases Letter About Walters Citation
  • Parents Defend Jim Walters After Indecent Conduct Citation
  • Confusion Surrounds Point Principal's Indecent Conduct Citation
  • Retired Beasley Principal to Step in for Jim Walters
Mendy Payne October 26, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Glad that he finally has closure. Sure do miss him at Point!
Tmueller October 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Unfortunately the damage has been done to him professionally. Truly hope he gets to return to working as a principal soon.
Connie Olson October 26, 2012 at 09:52 PM
My grandson attends Point Elementary. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Walters during grandparents week. He made it a point to go around the cafeteria and welcome all the visitors. The students seem to have a very good relationship with him. I hate that this has effected him, his family ,and career. I hope someday that he can return to the job he loved.
Kim Kelly Smith October 26, 2012 at 10:10 PM
I wonder if channel 4 and channel 5 will post this story all over the news tonight ... I doubt it :( We miss him at point, too!
steve rose October 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I think I see a lawsuit coming. Failure to properly train and manage the Ranger agency might be possibility, along with Unlawful prosecution and/or Defamation. Glad to see he was cleared. Now do something about those Security guard Park Rangers that are given police like authority without real police training or certification.
steve rose October 26, 2012 at 10:23 PM
You have got to read the Judge's statements in the pdf. Wow!
Axel Phillips October 26, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I hope the former park ranger has a lawyer, jim should sue him and the city for the damages that have been done. It's a real shame the district acted so quickly against a man with a totally untarnished career, an amazing family, and a great guy. I hope the TV media does a story on the follow up.. The sure were quick to jump on the allegation.
Karl Wulff October 27, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Closure? His life and career are ruined. I hope he sues and wins big.
Paul Voorhees October 27, 2012 at 02:38 AM
I feel that this is the right decision from the court. I also feel that the school board and the superintendant were out of line in letting Mr. Walters go before the truth about this unfortunate matter came to light. The legal rights of Mr. Walters have been violated. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?? I do not understand how the school board and Mr. Knost can stand behind their decision. Mr. Walters has had his day in court and found to be innocent. The man has had good reviews, an impeccable record, been very effective in his position. Why exactly was he fired? The only thing I see is that being falsely accused of a crime is grounds for dismissal in Mehlville, Unless Mr. Knost has ulterior motives and is furthering his own agenda. Mr. Knost and the Mehlville henchmen at the school board need to do what is right by this man or stand down and let someone else who is interested in justice take their places. Shame on you Mr Knost! Paul Voorhees
steve rose October 27, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Please stop editing away comments that are factual and in no way inappropriate. If you are going to allow for comments, then please stop selecting only the comments that you like or side with. Thank you.
geo suedkamp October 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM
justice has not been brought to completion. Mr. walters should be made whole for all the damage that has been done to him,his family and thereputation of all including the district. geo suedkamp
Point Parent October 29, 2012 at 05:51 AM
It's truly a shame that Mr. Walters was terminated from the district. My child goes to Point and has said that school just isn't the same without him there. I believe that Mr. Knost did have ulterior motives (possibly Jim Walters in his position some day!!) I'm sure that Mr. Knost has come up with "some other reason" for his termination beyond Mr. Walters' control. I wonder if Mr. Knost will have any trouble sleeping at night knowing that so many people feel J.W. was wrongfully terminated. It's sad but Jim Walters was guilty until proven innocent in Mr. Knost's and the board's eyes. Nothing against the new principal, but the kids (and parents) sure do miss Mr. Walters.
Barbara Chambers October 29, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Two of my grandchildren attended Point and I was a library volunteer, The charges in March were shocking and, the Board acted precipitously in firing him. Harsh as it sounds, I want to see Jim go for the jugular and sue the park ranger as well as the entire Ranger entity. Now that he has been vindicated, what future awaits him? The accusation took a lot of lives -- his family his profession, Point. I fear that justice has not been fully done. Scars linger.
Rachel Herrick October 29, 2012 at 07:35 PM
What a terrible tragedy for Jim and his family. The school board added insult to injury by terminating him before the facts were proven. I think at the very least the board owes a face-to-face public apology to Jim and a position within the school district should one become available, though I doubt he has any interest in continuing with our school district. Our loss, what a shame. Hopefully the park ranger service has better operations in place now to prevent something like this from happening again. Walters, take care!
d.hasch October 29, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Yes, he may have been found not guilty but, the damage has been done to this poor man and his family. His career in St Louis is over and the humiliation will never go away for he and his family. I truly hope Mr. Walters sues not only the Mehlville school district, but the Superintendent. They were wrong for ruining this man's life.
nancy fletcher October 30, 2012 at 01:46 AM
as i have stated in previous comments over the past several months as a grandparents with kids @ Point we truly miss Jim Walters and I totally agree with others here, i hope he sues for his wrongful termination, false allegations and anything else his legal counsel can come up with. This has wrongfully turned his AND his families lives upside down , tarnished his record .... alot of families at Point have stood behind him and i hope he knows how loved and respected he ramains in the hearts of many a parent, grandparent and child. I would hope to see him return to Point however i suppose I wouldn't want to return to a place that let me down, turned thier backs, where ever u are Jim I wish you only peace and happiness for you and your family. We believed in you and you are truly missed
steve rose October 30, 2012 at 04:39 PM
22.08.030 Park guards. The Commissioner of Parks shall have the authority to appoint park guards for the several parks of the City. Park guards shall be sworn in as private policemen (private security these days) pursuant to Section 84.340, Revised Statutes of Missouri, 1949, and shall be intrusted with the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and shall have the assistance of the metropolitan police force in carrying out their duties. (Ord. 49771 § 1 (14), 1960: 1960 C. § 221.030.) Consequently, they are not even trained to meet the "most basic" police training criteria for anywhere else within the State of Missouri. Yet, somehow they are in charge of knowing the laws? 2 days of private security guard training and they have access to all your personal information thru the police information systems too. Are you kidding me? They most likely do not even know the elements of a crime, not to mention what constitutes one. I think the judge has seen the quality of the Park Rangers' work and also their need for real police management and training. Poor Jim Walter's had to be the test case, I guess.
Lenore Suedkamp October 30, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Back on 9/27, this was posted; "I remember back in March Walters being quoted as saying it was "all a misunderstanding".Then I remember Knost saying in print that Walters would be on "administrative leave until it was determined he was safe to work with children". So here is my confusion: March- Walters claims misunderstanding, Knost puts him on leave until determined safe July- Walters is fired and replaced Sept.- Video evidence appears to vindicate Walters' claim of "misunderstanding" I have heard rumors over the years of Eric Knost's unethical dealings with employees who were hushed with threats.Is this incident now revealing the "real" Eric Knost? If, as it appears, Walters never did anything,how much will this incident cost our district monetarily. And more importantly,after seeing what this has done to Dr.Walters and his family, how much will this cost us morally?Is Eric Knost worth it?" It was quickly taken down because the poster tried to exercise freedom of speech with some anonymity.Why not just be up front you might ask?Here is why.That afternoon, during school hours, the poster (a kindly Melville grandmother) was contacted by Knost. Within the conversation, Knost made references to "suing for libel" as a result of the post. So, while he is supposedly working for our district, Knost is spending work hours tracking down a kindly district grandmother, calling and threatening her. Now, post verdict, what about her post wasn't dead on the mark
Tim Stanton November 02, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Is it Mr. Walters or Dr. Walters? Off topic, but I am curious.
Darrell Bamm November 02, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Dr. Walters.
Tim Stanton November 02, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Thank you, Darrell!

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