CLOSINGS: View Closings

Rome teacher accused of excessively disciplining students found not guilty

A Rome teacher was found not guilty on child abuse charges on Tuesday in Rome City Court.

Posted: Oct 30, 2018 12:10 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 7:17 PM

ROME, NY – A Rome teacher was found not guilty on child abuse charges on Tuesday in Rome City Court.

Ashley Rasbach, of Rome, testified in her own defense on the witness stand during the second day of the trial. She was accused of spraying a student in the face with a water bottle, pulling a child by the hair, grabbing a student by the arms and dropping that child on the floor, and pinning four students behind a door at a special education class at John E. Joy Elementary School in April. She was teaching kindergartners and first graders during the time of the incidents. She faced two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment.

Ashley Rasbach breaks into tears as she is found not guilty in Rome City Court on October 30, 2018.

When Rasbach was asked about whether she sprayed a bottle of water at a child she said, "I don't recall." She explained that she was teaching students at art activity at the time and that she never intentionally sprayed a child with water. Vicki Maitland, a teacher's assistant in the same classroom, reported all of the incidents to school officials. Maitland testified on Monday that Rasbach reached over her desk and sprayed a child in the face. Maitland said the child stepped back and wiped the water from her face with her sleeve. Maitland claimed the incident happened between 10 and 11 a.m. on April 9. Rasbach referred to her lesson plan book during trial stating that the art project happened at 1:10 p.m. that day. 

Rasbach was accused of pulling a child by the hair, who was looking out the window when she was told multiple times to stand in line. Rasbach said she "gently tugged" on a child's ponytail after she had repeatedly given directions to the student, who wasn't listening.

"Should I have done it? No... it was not appropriate. I should have tapped her on her shoulder."

Rasbach was accusation grabbing a child by arms, picking her up and dropping her on the floor. Maitland said the child said Rasbach pinched her.

Rasbach addressed the claim saying she "gently guided" the child to the rug in the classroom, who also wasn't listening to repeated directions.

Rasbach was also accused of squeezing four students behind a door and a wall. Rasbach said the door was at a 45-degree angle and that none of the students were pinned.

Rasbach has been paid administrative leave since the allegations in April. She is able to keep all of her certifications and the case will be sealed.

According to Rebecca Wittman, Rasbach's attorney, Rasbach felt very strongly that she didn't do anything wrong.

Scott McNamara, Oneida County district attorney, said he is disappointed with the judge's ruling and that this could send the wrong message if someone else sees child abuse, that they might not be believed.

Attempts to contact the Peter Blake, superintendent of Rome City School District were unsuccessful.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 503176

Reported Deaths: 33444
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens769807294
Kings755177393
Bronx555274991
Nassau498412208
Suffolk491982019
Westchester405541470
New York362243198
Rockland18024683
Richmond173591096
Orange13672505
Erie13161713
Monroe7386300
Dutchess5508163
Onondaga5498207
Albany3660136
Broome362083
Oneida2769128
Ulster253195
Niagara2088101
Putnam182563
Sullivan178648
Chemung17773
Schenectady157950
Saratoga136517
Rensselaer111042
Steuben102557
Chautauqua95513
Columbia72138
Ontario67935
Tioga65330
Tompkins6320
Oswego6314
Madison57017
Cortland5530
Cattaraugus5176
Wayne5125
Greene50718
Warren46133
Orleans41254
Chenango4087
Cayuga4052
St. Lawrence4054
Otsego4045
Genesee3965
Herkimer39410
Fulton36324
Washington33814
Allegany3141
Livingston3138
Montgomery2704
Clinton2485
Jefferson2110
Essex1990
Wyoming1925
Delaware1787
Seneca1473
Schuyler1350
Lewis1340
Yates1267
Schoharie1120
Franklin800
Hamilton170
Unassigned017
Utica
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 38°
Oneonta
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 27°
Herkimer
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 38°
Thendara
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 38°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
VOTE OCTOBER 22-30
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left