Aide arrested in alleged abuse of special needs student
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A former aide at Horace Mann Middle School was arrested Friday in connection with the alleged abuse of a special needs student, Charleston Police say.
James Lynch is the fourth aide from the school who has been charged. Lynch is named in a seven-count indictment that alleges he shoved a child, causing that child to fall. Lynch also is accused of striking the child’s thigh with his left leg, as well as striking and squeezing the student’s hand. On another occasion, according to the indictment, Lynch struck the student in the chest, causing him to fall.
The alleged abuse happened from February to March of this year, according to the indictment. All of the seven battery charges are misdemeanors.
The mother of the student allegedly abused by Lynch, Vankisha Hill, released this statement to WSAZ:
“At this moment in time, I feel satisfied in knowing that the fourth abuser has been brought forward. Hopefully, justice will prevail for all of the children and parents from this ordeal. Maybe now, all children and families can start the beginning of a healing process, (and) hopefully this will not just be a slap on the wrist for the individuals involved. No one has any idea as to how this is going to affect our children involved. We still have a process to endure with them; not only them but the families involved, as well.”
In early October, the Kanawha County Board of Education voted to terminate Lynch. At that time, school officials said they had video showing inappropriate activity involving him.
The Kanawha County School’s spokesperson said (Lynch) had left the classroom in March and it was the same classroom that the other incidents, involving three other former employees, were in. The school said they were going through footage linked to the prior known incidents when they came across the alleged abuse from Lynch.
“In that review, we discovered incidents involving (Lynch) that we deemed to be inappropriate, which led to his termination by the Board,” the spokesperson said.
Michael Cary is one of the attorneys on the case and is also involved in the other cases surrounding this classroom. At this point, Cary said investigators have four children they believe were abused.
“Abuse has to stop. You have to be able to provide a voice for individuals in our community that cannot provide a voice for themselves. We have to have our schools safe, everyday parents take their kids to school hoping, knowing and praying they’re going to be safe,” Cary said.
Earlier this year, three former aides at Horace Mann Middle School also were charged with the alleged abuse of special needs students.
WSAZ requested the video footage of the classroom through a Freedom of Information Act. Kanawha County Schools said, due to legal reasons, they cannot release the video.
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