Teacher charged with assault for dragging autistic boy pleads not guilty

[Courtesy of: New York Post https://nypost.com/2019/01/09/teacher-charged-with-assault-for-dragging-autistic-boy-pleads-not-guilty/]

January 09/2019

A special education teacher who was fired after being caught on video dragging an autistic boy through the halls of a school and charged with fourth-degree assault has entered a plea of not guilty.

Trina Abrams, a former resource teacher at Wurtland Elementary School in Eastern Kentucky, was hit with the misdemeanor assault charges on a “victim under 12-years-old,” according to CNN, following an investigation by Kentucky State Police in response to the shocking video.

Greenup District Court Judge Brian McCloud ruled that Abrams could remain free on bond under the condition that she not teach at a school or work in a setting around juveniles, according to local Fox affiliate WVAH.

Abrams left court immediately after entering her plea and declined to comment to local media in the courthouse, The Daily Independent reports.

Her lawyer, Matthew Wisecup, said in a statement to The Post: “Ms. Abrams maintains her innocence to the misdemeanor charge pending against her, and of course, she is entitled to a presumption of innocence by law,” adding that she “pleaded not guilty today at her arraignment, she remains out of custody on bond, and we intend to defend this charge fully.”

The Greenup County School District couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Abrams’ plea, but did previously confirm that she had been fired following the incident.

The former teacher can be seen in surveillance footage dragging the 9-year-old boy out of a classroom and through multiple hallways after he became frustrated and began to have a meltdown.

Angel Nelson, the boy’s mother, told The Post that her son deals with an array of challenges outside of his autism diagnosis — including limited speech, meaning he cannot communicate in full sentences and has a speech delay, as well as ADHD, PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Nelson said that when she first met with Abrams at their initial IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting upon enrolling her son at Wurtland, Abrams assured her and her husband that she had years of experience and that her son was in good hands.

During the incident, Abrams grabbed Nelson’s son by both wrists and bent them backward, according to CNN. Nelson told CNN affiliate WSAZ that a doctor diagnosed her son with sprains in both wrists, as well as swelling and bruising in one wrist that worsened in the days following.

Abrams is due back in court Feb. 20 for a pretrial hearing.



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