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Knox taxpayers remain on legal hook in teaching assistant’s abuse of students

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Knox County cannot escape blame for the abuses of a teaching assistant whom officials placed with special-needs students despite her history of ill temper and complaints of mistreatment, a judge has ruled.

Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan refused in a ruling made public this week to shield Knox County, the Knox County Board of Education and former Halls Middle School Principal Tim Wiegenstein from trial in two federal civil-rights lawsuits over the confessed abuse of special-needs students by former teaching assistant Rebecca Shoemaker.

Parents Alan and Virginia Howard and Robert and Kimberly Rosasco are suing the county, the board, Wiegenstein and Shoemaker for the repeated abuse their children suffered at the hands of Shoemaker during her three-year tenure as a teaching assistant in a classroom designated for children with physical and mental disabilities.

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The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

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