Child abuse charges dropped against Hillsborough County teacher, principal

By Josh Rojas and Digital Media Staff,
Last Updated: Monday, January 08, 2018, 5:35 PM EST

Charges of child abuse against a Tampa school principal and teacher have been dropped because of fabricated evidence, according to the State Attorney.

  • Kimberly Hoskinson, Michael Hoskinson exonerated of charges
  • 'Fabricated and manipulated evidence' cited by State Attorney
  • Their attorney says it was a poor police investigation

Kimberly Hoskinson, a teacher at Plant High School, and Michael Hoskinson, the principal at Coleman Middle School, were charged in November.

Authorities said the alleged incident happened Nov. 2, did not occur at either school and was unrelated to their employment.

They were exonerated of the charges Monday, according to Hillsborough County Public Schools, reinstated as employees.

"The district is sensitive to everything the Hoskinsons have gone through. Their positions with the district have not been determined at this time," the school system said.

Kimberly Hoskinson was accused of pushing the child, and Michael Hoskinson was accused of punching the child in the ribs. The State Attorney said there was no "credible evidence."

"We determined that a key witness fabricated and manipulated evidence and there was not credible evidence to pursue the charges at issue, according to a statement from the State Attorney's Office.

Rick Escobar, the attorney representing the Hoskinsons, said they "never, ever should have arrested in this case."

"This was a poor investigation. It's an embarrassing investigation and it’s an investigation that in my opinion was a rush to judgment," Escobar said.

"No parent, no one, should have to go through what Mike and Kim went through," he said. "There was no need on the day of the allegation for law enforcement to quickly arrest these two individuals who denied these allegations from beginning to end."

The Tampa Police Department released a statement Monday that said: "The Tampa Police Department made arrests in the Hoskinson case based o probable cause and in the interest of protecting a victim. As is standard in such cases, the investigation continued after the arrest. As a result of that thorough investigation new information came to light, which resulted in the actions announced by the State Attorneys Office today."

Shell Wicker, Coleman Middle School counselor, said there was "anger" that the police department arrested them and called them a wonderful family.

"I never had a doubt, not for a second," she said. "And when people would stop me in the store and I would say I know that this is not true, and it’s going to be proven false."