Crosland turtle

Preston Junior High School teacher Robert Crosland is seen feeding a live rat to a turtle in his classroom in this 2005 photo.

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Criminal charges of animal cruelty were filed Friday against Preston Middle School teacher Robert Crosland in connection with the alleged feeding of a puppy to a classroom snapping turtle.

Crosland came under fire in early March when he allegedly fed a sick puppy to the turtle after school in early March with three juveniles in his presence.

Crosland was charged in the Franklin County magistrate court with committing cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor offense, defined as any person who is cruel to any animal, causes an animal to be cruelly treated or procures an animal to be cruelly treated.

If a person is convicted and it is a first offense, the offender faces a maximum of six months in jail, a fine of $100 to $5000, or both.

While the charges have been formally filed and a summons has been issued, a court date has not been set at this time.

Rumors about the incident first surfaced Thursday, March 8, and at the time, Preston School Superintendent Marc Gee confirmed there had been an incident at the school and the school district was looking into it.

A day later, Gee released a formal statement acknowledging the occurrence of “a regrettable circumstance involving some of the biological specimens” at Preston Junior High but did not include further details.

Gee declined to comment Friday on Crosland’s current employment status with the school.

“As of the end of the business day we had not heard directly from the attorney general regarding any of the details of the charges that were filed today,” Gee said.

The district will prepare a statement at a later date, he said.

amacavinta@hjnews.com Twitter: amacavinta

Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.

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