LAUREL, Md. (AP) — A former Maryland middle school principal accused of punching a student has been acquitted of child abuse and assault charges.

Prince George’s County prosecutors say after hours of deliberation Thursday, a jury found 46-year-old Dwight Jefferson of Fort Washington not guilty of child abuse and second-degree assault.

When Jefferson, who was principal of Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, was indicted in November, prosecutors alleged that he stopped a student in school and ordered the student to go to a back room. There, prosecutors said, Jefferson punched the youth twice in the stomach, and once in the face.

When the boy returned to class, prosecutors said teachers saw his eye was swollen and notified administrators.

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