Teacher in court for pre-trial hearing

Published Sep 22, 2018 at 4:00pm

The former John E. Joy Elementary School teacher accused of abusing her students appeared in City Court Friday for a pre-trial suppression hearing.

Meanwhile, the co-defendant and former teacher’s aide is scheduled for a non-jury trial on Wednesday.

Ashley Rasbach, 30, of Rome, sat for a brief suppression hearing before Judge Gregory J. Amoroso concerning the statement she gave to the Sheriff’s Office before she was taken into custody. 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.

Sheriff’s Inv. Justin Copperwheat was the only witness called at the hearing. Copperwheat said he spoke with Rasbach at her parents’ house in Rome on June 11 for about half an hour and recorded their conversation. The recording was not played in court on Friday.

Copperwheat said he did not read Rasbach her Constitutional Miranda Rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, because she was not under arrest.

Copperwheat said Rasbach spoke with him willingly, did not request an attorney and never asked to stop the conversation. Rasbach was taken into custody on June 20. She is charged with two counts each of second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.

Rasbach’s co-defendant, 47-year-old Maria Fountain, also of Rome, is scheduled to have a non-jury trial before Judge Amoroso on Wednesday. She is charged with one count each of harassment and endangering.