School board member found not guilty in animal cruelty case

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

STANTON, Neb. (AP)  A northeast Nebraska school board member has been found not guilty of charges related to animal cruelty.

Court records say a judge acquitted 44-year-old Kirk Van Pelt after a nonjury trial Thursday in Stanton. Van Pelt had been charged with aiding and abetting cruel mistreatment of an animal and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child.        

Police had said he played a role in the torture of a cat and an opossum. Four juveniles convicted in the case were sentenced to probation and community service. His attorney said there was no evidence that Van Pelt aided any crime or encouraged any delinquency.        

Van Pelt is a member of the Stanton Community Schools board.