Acquitted on Assault

A wheelchair-bound Vineyard Haven man was acquitted this week of a charge he used a baseball bat to assault a man he accused of molesting a three-year-old girl.

After a bench trial in Edgartown district court on Monday, Francis C. Hebert, 57, owner of Mac PC Sales and Service, was found not guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon stemming from a Feb. 22 arrest.

Police said that Mr. Hebert, a paraplegic, told them he used the bat on Joshua Hardy of Middleborough after Mr. Hardy admitted abusing the girl and then laughed at Mr. Hebert.

But in an affidavit filed with the court last month, Mr. Hebert countered that he had the bat only for self-defense and struck Mr. Hardy on the arm after he admitted to molesting the girl and then “rose to confront me physically.”