New lawsuit alleges abuse of 3rd special needs child at Horace Mann

Local News

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — A third lawsuit has been filed in relation to abuse allegations involving a teacher and two aides from Horace Mann Middle School in Charleston.

The third lawsuit, filed by a minor student’s parents in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, alleges physical and verbal abuse of a non-verbal special needs student by Anthony Wilson, Lillian Branham and Walter Pannell. The Kanawha County Board of Education was also named as a defendant in the case.

Among other allegations, court documents claim that the defendants “unlawfully, recklessly and maliciously restrained [the minor child] and confined him to a bean bag or chair under threat of physical and/or emotional abuse. During the course of the school day, [the minor child] was rarely permitted to leave his bean bag or chair. When he did leave, he was physically and verbally abused and disciplined.”

The lawsuit also says that video footage revealed “dozens” of instances of abuse, and the suit claims that the defendants can also be seen “mocking, taunting, and ridiculing” the minor child as well as other special needs students because of their disabilities.

These same defendants were named in two other lawsuits back in late May of 2021. Both of these suits alleged similar behavior and also mentioned the video footage. One of these students was taken to the emergency room for injuries sustained during abuse by the defendants, another lawsuit claims.

13 News reached out to Kanawha County Schools, and they sent us the following statement:

“Since the original incident was first discovered by Kanawha County Schools on May 12th, we’ve continued to review video and make reports to CPS, law enforcement, as well as Mr. Salango in his representation of clients. Kanawha County Schools is addressing the employment of those accused and they have not been in a KCS classroom since the initial discovery.” 

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