BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) – Former Berkeley County special education teacher Christina Lester and two former aides, June Yurish and Kristin Douty, have been arrested and charged with misdemeanor failure to report abuse or neglect on Friday, August 16, 2019. These criminal arrests stemmed from the investigation into alleged child abuse of special needs children.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s civil lawsuit, filed in February and amended in May, alleged Lester, Yurish, and Douty verbally abused autistic students by threatening each with physical violence. That investigation led the Attorney General to make criminal referrals to the prosecutor.
The amended civil complaint further alleged that Berkeley Heights Principal Amber Boeckmann and Berkeley County Deputy Superintendent Margaret F. Kursey actively tried to obscure evidence with a flawed investigation. It was also alleged the deputy superintendent gave an order to destroy a recording of the verbal abuse and failed to report the matter to Child Protective Services.
The amended civil complaint added the Berkeley County Board of Education as a sixth defendant contending that it bears responsibility because those committing the allegations did so during the course of their employment with the board.
The civil case was filed in Berkeley County Circuit Court as part of the Attorney General’s exclusive authority to seek an injunction against any person who violates the state’s Human Rights Act.
2019 05 07 Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Complaint Filed (Text)