Non-jury trial date set for Oct. 29 for teacher

Published Oct 11, 2018 at 12:00pm

The former John E. Joy Elementary School teacher accused of abusing her students has opted for a non-jury trial in City Court, which has been scheduled for Oct. 29.

Ashley Rasbach, 30, of Rome, appeared briefly before Judge Gregory J. Amoroso Wednesday afternoon to settle some pre-trial matters and set the date for the end of the month. Rasbach has opted to forgo having a jury of her peers, and will instead rely on Judge Amoroso himself to hear the case and reach a verdict.

Rasbach’s former co-defendant, teacher’s aide Maria Fountain, also opted for a non-jury trial for her abuse charges. After the District Attorney’s Office presented their case against Fountain on Sept. 25, Judge Amoroso ruled that they had failed to make their case and he dismissed the charges against Fountain without even bothering to listen to any defense witnesses.

Sheriff’s investigators said Rasbach is accused of being verbally abusive towards her special education students, as well as disciplining a student with a spray bottle and squeezing a student behind a door. Authorities said the abuse was witnessed and reported by teacher’s aide Vicki B. Maitland, who was placed in Rasbach’s classroom for a week in April.

Maitland was the only eye witness to take the stand in Fountain’s City Court trial, where she recounted the abuse she saw to Judge Amoroso. In Fountain’s case, Judge Amoroso ruled that evidence was not enough.