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Teacher accused of abusing her children waives hearing

September 16, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --A teacher charged with beating her own six children with broom handles, metal coat hangers and other objects since 2003 waived her right Thursday to a preliminary hearing in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Rebecca Jean Ferguson, 39, of Inwood, W.Va., is charged with six felony counts of child abuse causing injury from January 2003 up until this year, according to court records.

Upon waiving her right to the hearing, the state's evidence against Ferguson is bound over to circuit court, where the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney's office can present it to a grand jury.

Ferguson, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Spring Mills Middle School, has been on administrative leave without pay since Monday, Jaimee Borger, Berkeley County Schools' director of communications, clarified Thursday. School officials previously indicated Ferguson, who also had taught at Musselman High School, was on administrative leave and was receiving pay.

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Attorney Christopher J. Prezioso was appointed by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes to represent Ferguson, according to court records.

In a series of interviews, Ferguson's biological children, ranging in age from 3 years old to 19 years old, gave examples of how they had been struck numerous times by their mother, according to court records.

One of the children told a West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources investigator that his mother grabbed him by the back of the head and shoved his head into a table, according to court records.

One of his sisters told West Virginia State Police Trooper W.R. Garrett that their mother abused her on a regular basis, and that the mistreatment "intensified" from ages 12 to 16, when she went to stay with her father, according to court records.

Ferguson's daughter indicated that she was severely beaten, on average, three times per week during that time, according to court records.

The father of one of Ferguson's children told police that his daughter overdosed on medication "as a way to deal with the physical abuse of her younger siblings," Garrett said in his complaint.

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