CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A second former trainer’s aide at Horace Mann Center College in Charleston will head to jail subsequent month for abusing college students in a particular wants classroom.
Walter Pannell, 72, was sentenced Wednesday morning in Kanawha County Circuit Court docket to at least one yr in jail, two years of supervised probation with the doable penalty of 1 yr if that probation is violated.
Former aide James Lynch, who additionally labored at Horace Mann, was sentenced to 2 years in jail final month.
Pannell beforehand pleaded responsible in Might to 4 counts of misdemeanor battery in opposition to two college students recognized by the courtroom as N.H. and T.R. The abuse occurred in March and April 2021 and was captured on classroom video. Pannell was arrested in Might 2021.
Vankisha Hill, the mom of N.H., advised Choose Carrie Webster it was scary to look at all of it unfold.
“It was one time when Mr. Pannell grabbed my son by his shirt and dragged him like a rag doll. There was one other occasion my son was going towards your meals and also you mentioned ‘Don’t come over right here as a result of I’ll punch you in your nostril.’” Hill mentioned.
Hill’s son, who was 13 on the time of the abuse, is autistic, non-verbal and has ADHD. She advised Pannell she understands caring for particular wants children just isn’t a simple job.
“They’ve difficulties, they’ve speech points, they’re non-verbal,” she mentioned. “If you weren’t capable of do the job, why keep there?”
Earlier in Wednesday’s listening to, Pannell acknowledged his job was tough. He had been working in particular training for greater than 30 years.
“Working with autism children than working with children with conduct issues,” Pannell mentioned.
The choose interrupted him and mentioned “this ran opposite to your coaching, so that you’re not taking the place that you simply have been allowed to try this, are you?
Pannell replied, “No.”
Pannell’s legal professional J.A. Curia was looking for probation and residential confinement citing his consumer’s age, underlying well being points with most cancers and lack of earlier prison historical past.
However Choose Webster mentioned abusing the susceptible ought to by no means be tolerated.
“I don’t show pride placing any person in jail, however I additionally don’t get pleasure from listening to conduct in a classroom the place youngsters who rely on others are being harmed and abuse, and you probably did,” Webster advised Pannell.
The choose spent a while studying supportive letters from household, buddies and people who know Pannell.
Hill mentioned these phrases “went in a single ear and out the opposite.”
“I heard the letters of this nice trainer, this nice coach, however the movies that I’ve needed to watch time and time again and again doesn’t show that by any means,” she mentioned.
Pannell will self-report to the South Central Regional Jail on Aug. 5.