Former Warwick teacher found not guilty of sexual assault

Mario Atoyan (Photo: North Kingstown Police Department)

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A former Warwick teacher has been found not guilty of assaulting a teenage relative.

According to the Attorney General’s office, a jury on Tuesday acquitted Mario Atoyan of sexual assault charges.

The charges stemmed from an alleged incident in North Kingstown in June of 2014.

Atoyan was a science teacher at Gorton Junior High at the time. His accuser, then 15 years old, had no ties to the school, school officials said.

Atoyan’s attorney, John R. Grasso, Esq., released a statement Thursday on behalf of his client.

“Mario Atoyan and his family are relieved that a jury of his neighbors exonerated him. The evidence produced in his defense was consistent with his assertion of innocence and clearly persuaded the jury to find him not guilty. He and his family are focused on getting back to the lives they were leading before these allegations were made.”

Atoyan was also accused by a parent in 2013 of drawing a sexually explicit picture on her daughter’s hand. He was not criminally charged in that case.

According to Superintendent Philip Thornton, Atoyan no longer works in the Warwick School Department, having been terminated in January 2016.