Orcutt woman escapes abuse charges

April 18, 2013
Bertha Savoy

Bertha Savoy

Criminal child abuse charges against an elderly Orcutt woman will not be refiled after a Santa Maria jury failed to reach a verdict, ending a three-year legal odyssey. (Santa Maria Times)

Bertha Savoy, 74, a longtime special education teacher, had been charged along with her neighbor and nephew, Duane James, 41, with multiple felonies involving treatment of youngsters in their care.

Jurors found issues with witnesses’ varying stories, and several alleged victims testified that they had never been mistreated by the defendants.

James was convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery but was found not guilty of several other more serious charges. He has been sentenced to three years formal probation and four months in county jail.