KNOXVILLE — Former Melcher-Dallas High School teacher David Loren Bennett was acquitted of sexual abuse after a jury found him not guilty.
A loud cheer came up from the crowd of approximately 30 seated behind Bennett, most of whom have been seated in the courtroom throughout the trial. On the other side of the courtroom, where sat the family and friends of Bennett's accuser, there was silence. The accuser's mother was visibly distraught. Marion County Attorney Ed Bull did not agree with the verdict, but remains supportive of the jury system.
"I'm incredibly disappointed," Bull said. He respects the court regardless of the verdict.
Defense Attorney Keith Rigg hugged his client after Judge Paul Huscher finished the necessary record. Rigg said he has a deep appreciation for the jury and its verdict. He realizes that the case has been trying not only for his client, but for the accuser's family. He is pleased with the way the case was resolved.
Bennett, still in tears and after receiving a barrage of hugs and congratulations, said he has no hard feelings in the matter. Children will be children and they can make mistakes, he added. He is relieved that the case is over.