PARKERSBURG - Charges against a Williamstown teacher/cheerleading coach were dismissed Wednesday in Wood County Magistrate Court.
In September, Sasha R. Banfield, 39, of Williamstown, was arrested on charges of obstructing justice, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and being an accessory after the fact of obstructing after she allegedly falsely presented herself as the parent of an unrelated juvenile, according to court documents.
Wood County Magistrate Robin Waters said Wednesday the charges were dismissed in a motion hearing in her court.
Waters said the charges were dismissed because there was no probable cause for the charges.
"Her (Banfield's) attorney, Bill Merriman, presented a Supreme Court case that showed the criminal complaint did not have any proof to support the charges," Waters said. "If you do not have the proof for the obstructing charge, then you cannot have the other charges and the charges had to be dismissed."
According to reports, police responded Aug. 21 to a complaint of a loud party in the area of Lake Washington Club Drive in Washington. Several juveniles at the party attempted to hide from police in nearby woods but were detained by police when they attempted to leave the area, officials said.
In a criminal complaint by Wood County sheriff's Sgt. Brett Pickens, Banfield's daughter and a female friend were among the juveniles detained. The daughter allegedly told police the two were sisters and sent a text to Banfield asking her to pose as the friend's mother to keep her from getting into trouble with her parents, officials said.
Pickens alleged when Banfield arrived to pick up the juveniles, she "pointed at them and stated, 'Both of you girls are grounded,' which led me to believe that she was the parent of both." Pickens contacted the Williamstown High School prevention resource officer the next day and learned the two were not sisters and Banfield was not the parent of one of the juveniles, officials said.
Merriman filed a motion stating police had no reason to pull over the car in which the two girls were riding.
"There was not an articulable reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle involved in the case and any information obtained from such stop is from the fruit of the poisonous tree and should be excluded from the cases and the case dismissed," Merriman stated.
Because of this, a second motion asserts "there is not probable cause to arrest the defendant in the criminal complaint" against Banfield, and asks for that case to be immediately dismissed.
Banfield is a fifth-grade math teacher at Williamstown Elementary School and head varsity cheerleading coach at Williamstown High School.