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Additional charges for former teacher accused of child abuse

Rebecca Jean Ferguson now faces charges that she took identity of oldest child

September 28, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --A former Berkeley County teacher charged with beating her biological children with broom handles, metal coat hangers and other objects now faces charges that she took the identity of her oldest child for financial gain.

Rebecca Jean Ferguson, 39, of 33 Grubb Landing in Inwood, W.Va, was arraigned Tuesday by Berkeley County Magistrate Sandra L. Miller on nine felony counts of taking the identity of another person, according to magistrate court records.

Ferguson, who posted bail Tuesday for a $45,000 bond set by Miller, is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Joan V. Bragg on Oct. 13 for a preliminary hearing on the charges, according to court records.

Upon reviewing a credit report for Ferguson's 19-year-old daughter, West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.M. Walker found eight revolving credit accounts that were opened between March and June 2005 in the victim's name, according to court records.

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At the time, the credit accounts were opened with Applied Bank, Barclays Bank Delaware, BP Oil/Citibank, Chase, Chase Bank USA, Citgo/Citibank, HSBC Bank and SST/Columbus Bank & Trust, the victim was between 14 and 15 years old, Walker said in a complaint filed in magistrate court.

The accounts either had an outstanding balance or had been previously charged off as a bad debt, according to court records.

Ferguson's daughter told West Virginia State Police troopers earlier this month that she only recently discovered that the credit accounts had been opened in her name, according to court records.

In a Sept. 20 interview, Ferguson allegedly told police that she first used her daughter's identity to open a cell phone account with Cingular (now AT&T), and subsequently used the victim's Social Security number and date of birth to open more accounts, according to court records.

Earlier this month, Ferguson posted bail for a $300,000 bond after she was arraigned on six counts of child abuse causing injury. She waived her right to a preliminary hearing in magistrate court on those charges, according to court records.

Ferguson was a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Spring Mills Middle School, had taught at Musselman High School and was employed with the school system for four years, officials have said. She resigned from her teaching job at Spring Mills on Sept. 17.

In a series of interviews regarding the child-abuse allegations, 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.

Ferguson's oldest daughter told state police 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.

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

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