Nichole Noel Thiel not guilty: An Idaho teacher accused of sex with student is found not guilty after the defense claims the boy wanted money.
Nichole Noel Thiel a 48 year old Idaho teacher accused of having sex with a male teen student has been acquitted after her legal team claimed the boy had lied to get money.
Upon Thursday’s ruling, Nichole Thiel who had been facing up to 25 years jail if convicted on charges of sexual battery was found not guilty.
The jury relied almost solely on witness testimony due to the absence of physical evidence.
During trial proceedings, prosecutors alleged Thiel having sex with the boy in late 2015 and early 2016 at her condominium. At the time of the alleged encounters, Thiel was a 46-year-old culinary arts teacher at Lake Pend Orielle High School in Sandpoint, while the student was 16.
Challenging prosecutor’s claims, the defense noted the teen admitting during police questioning that having sex with one of his teachers was an item on his ‘bucket list.’
Attorney Michael Palmer also noted that the teen’s mother recently filing a claim against the Lake Pend Orielle School District. With the lawyer arguing that the teen lied in a bid to help his mother win her case against the school.
‘[The student] has a massive incentive to get her convicted,’ Palmer told the jury, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press.
Palmer also pointed out discrepancies in the teen’s recounting of the sexual encounters at Thiel’s condo. At one point, the defense attorney said that the condo’s imitation balcony was too small and too inaccessible for the teen to step outside and smoke a cigarette, which he claimed he did.
Nichole Noel Thiel: I haven’t had sex in six years.
Court documents cited by KXLY.com told of the alleged illicit tryst being initiated when the boy one day came across the teacher upset and crying at school. In a bid to comfort the administrator, the boy said he hugged the teacher who in turn kissed him on the cheek.
Prosecutors argued that Thiel then pursued the boy, telling him on one occasion that she hadn’t had sex in six years before offering the boy a massage and having sex with him at her Coeur d’Alene house.
Upon the jury’s not guilty verdict, Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall said while he accepted the verdict, he intended to follow up with the school’s principal and the district’s superintendent.
At the time of her arrest earlier this year, Thiel was vice principal and athletic director at the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy. She was placed on leave when the accusations came to light. It was not immediately clear whether she would be restored to that position.