Charges dismissed against former Fresno teacher who put rope around students' necks

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Peter Samhammer will not face any abuse charges after completing anger management classes and community service.

The former teacher and wrestling coach in Central Unified has said all along he never acted with ill will or intended to harm anyone.

On Thursday, he learned the criminal charges against him were dropped and it would not go on his record.

Samhammer was arrested more than two years ago after investigators say he placed a jump rope around several students' necks and briefly tightened it before letting go.

The alleged incident took place at Herndon-Barstow Elementary during Samhammer's class.

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According to the Sheriff's Office, the kids suffered marks on their necks and shoulders from the rope.

However, a key piece of evidence that was played in court favored the defense.

According to Samhammer's attorney, Daniel Bacon, the video evidence showed no more than horseplay between the teacher and his students.

"I think after viewing the video the District Attorney felt this is a case that should be resolved so that my client would not have a record," said Bacon.

Samhammer was allowed to enter a conditional plea in court.

After completing some community service and anger management classes the case against him was dismissed.

"The final result is he has no conviction and I think all parties are happy," said Bacon.

The longtime teacher was facing 10 years in prison if he had been convicted.

"Under all the circumstances I think the court as well as the people through the DA's Office recognize maybe this was horseplay and they probably couldn't get a conviction," said Bacon

At the time of the incident, the students ranged in age from 9 to 11 years.

Samhammer is retired and plans to move out of the area to be closer to family.
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