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Grand jury indicts teacher on child cruelty

ALBANY, Ga. -- Accused of punching a 14-year-old female student on March 17, a Dougherty County School System teacher now faces felony charges, a court official said.

"The grand jury indicted Antonio Renard Richardson, 33, of cruelty to a child in the first degree (Wednesday)," said Greg Edwards, district attorney for the Dougherty Judicial Circuit.

The felony was in addition to misdemeanor charges of battery, disorderly conduct and obstruction of an officer, Edwards added.

The student at South Georgia Regional Achievement Center initially attacked Richardson, officials reported. The Dougherty County School System Police responded and she was placed in custody.

Richardson then "did intentionally cause visible bodily harm, to wit: swelling of the face ... by striking said victim with his fists in her face," according to the indictment.

Richardson remains free after posting a $3,500 bond March 18.

"Mr. Richardson resigned his teaching position on April 12," said R.D. Harter, school system public information director. "The board accepted his resignation and he will not be back in a classroom no matter how this ends."

Edwards did not know when Richardson would be scheduled for trial on his most recent charges.

Richardson was arrested April 3, 2007 for simple battery after striking his wife "causing swelling on her forehead, under her left eye, bruising her left arm, her right hand and both sides of her neck," court documents stated.

The District Attorney's Office dropped the charges because Richardson's wife refused to testify against him, court officials said.