West Virginia Attorney General announces court order regarding Berkeley Heights audio

West Virginia

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced what his office has called a significant action to bolster child safety.

“We want to deter future abuses in Berkeley County and across the state in West Virginia…”

“I’m seeking a court order to prevent those who are alleged to have threatened or abused their authority from working with children now and in the future.”

A civil complaint was filed Tuesday alleging three adults verbally assaulted two nonverbal autistic children. Christina Lester, June Yurish and Kristin Douty were named as the three caught on a recording device hidden by a parent in her daughter’s hair at Berkeley Heights Elementary School. 

The court order would declare that Lester, Yurish and Douty violated the state’s Human Rights Act. The complaint also seeks a $5,000 civil penalty for each violation and blocks the three from holding a paid or volunteer position where they supervise or provide care for children. 

“If there are credible allegations where a teacher or a teacher aide is inappropriately threatening someone under the statute, we will step in. We will take action,” to make sure they never teach in West Virginia again. 

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the complaint also seeks to block Lester, Yurish and Douty from having any contact with the students in question or their family members.

The Attorney General’s investigation is still ongoing.

This announcement comes right after a school board meeting Monday night in which parents called for the resignation of Manny Arvon, the superintendent of Berkeley County schools.

On Feb. 9, ten days before Morrisey’s announcement, protestors gathered in Martinsburg holding signs in support of the nonverbal students who were verbally abused, one of which was 7-year-old Adri Pack, whose mother hid the recording device. 

Read the full civil complaint here.

This story will be updated. 

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