Central Valley High School science teacher Scott Winslow pleaded guilty to felony second-degree malicious mischief and misdemeanor harassment this week on the day his trial was set to begin.
He was originally charged with second-degree malicious mischief and harassment with a threat to kill, both felonies. The charges date back to a road rage incident on June 9, 2009. Court documents state that a woman with two small children in the car said Winslow was tailgating her as she drove north on Nevada Street. When she pulled off the road and stopped, Winslow got out of his car and confronted her.
The driver and a witness both told police that Winslow kicked her car door and threatened to kill her, according to court documents. The issue became public when someone anonymously mailed court documents to The Spokesman-Review and the Central Valley School District in September 2009.
Winslow, 46, was placed on paid administrative leave at that time and will return to work next fall. In a press release the district said “based on the outcome of the court decision in the case of Scott Winslow and the conclusion of the internal investigation, Scott Winslow will be returned to regular status effective Sept. 7, 2010. His paid administrative leave expires June 18, 2010.”
Winslow was given a year of suspended jail time and will not have to go to jail if he does not violate his probation, said his attorney, Bryan Whitaker. He will also have to pay $717 in restitution and $800 in court costs. Winslow will be required to attend anger-management classes as part of his two-year probation, Whitaker said. He also cannot have any further criminal charges during that time.
Whitaker said the pressure was on his client because he believes the victim’s husband had arranged to have television cameras at a routine court hearing. “There’s been a big push, let’s say, to make sure this story stays in the limelight.”
He declined to say why Winslow had chosen to plead guilty to the charges, citing attorney-client confidentiality. Winslow did not return a message seeking comment.