Teacher's Alleged Victim Takes the Blame

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

The star witness against a former Omaha middle school teacher took the stand today but her testimony troubled some of the observers in the courtroom.

The now 18-year-old girl's testimony was problematic for prosecutors.

The alleged victim was a freshman and sophomore when she is said to have been in the inappropriate relationship with Shad Knutson and appeared to be protecting him throughout the investigation and even today on the stand.

Prosecutors almost had to drag her testimony out of her at times but she did admit the relationship with Knutson included kissing and fondling but several times after admitting the physical nature of the relationship the now young woman added "I did that of my own free will."

At one point in her testimony the alleged victim stopped because she could see her mother through the glass in the courtroom door so the mother was removed from her line of sight.

During Tom Riley's cross-examination the young woman seemed to grow tired of the questions indicating she did not want to talk about a conversation with another alleged victim.

Riley did get her to admit that she originally denied any inappropriate relationship with Knutson. She told the four men and 10 women on the jury, "I didn't want to get in trouble. I was the aggressor and I wanted to be in a relationship with (Knutson) him."

The alleged victim told Riley she was angry with Knutson after talking with prosecutors saying she thought she was the only one having a relationship with the teacher but realized he was a liar.

Even on re-direct she told the courtroom "I'm not saying he did anything that I didn't approve of."

The prosecution rested its case this afternoon.

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