An Idaho teacher was found not guilty of having sex with a 16-year-old student after he claimed they had slept together as part of his “bucket list,” The New York Post reported.
Nicole Noel Thiel, 48, and her lawyers argued that the boy was lying in order for his mother to win a lawsuit against the school district.
Prosecutors alleged that Thiel, a culinary arts teacher, had sex with the teenager in 2015 and 2016 at her condominium. But because of his mother’s lawsuit against the Lake Pend Orielle School District, defense attorney Micheal Palmer said the teenage boy had “a massive incentive to get her convicted.”
Palmer also said that the teenager had discrepancies in his description of Thiel’s condo. The boy claimed that he stepped onto her balcony to have a smoke, but the defense team said that the balcony was too small and unreachable for that to have happened, according to The Post.
The prosecutor in the three-day trial said he planned to accept the verdict, though, first, he planned to consult with the current leadership of Thiel’s former school.
If Thiel had been found guilty, she faced up to 25 years in prison. At the time of her arrest in early 2017, she had been the vice principal and athletic director at the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy. Following the accusations, she was placed on leave. It isn't clear if she will return to her former position, according to the Post.