UPDATE: Charges against Rome teacher's aide dismissed during trial

47-year-old Maria Fountain of Rome

A judge has dismissed the charges against the Rome teacher’s aide who was accused of excessively disciplining a seven-year-old special needs student at John E. Joy Elementary School.

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 12:56 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 5:58 PM

UPDATE: A judge has dismissed the charges against the Rome teacher’s aide who was accused of excessively disciplining a seven-year-old special needs student at John E. Joy Elementary School.

Four witnesses testified in Rome City Court on Wednesday for Maria Fountain’s trial, including an alleged eyewitness who said Fountain slammed the student’s arms on a desk, then told the crying student that there was more where that came from.

The judge then dismissed the charges against Fountain, saying the prosecution failed to prove their case.

The Oneida County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case and requesting a transcript of the proceedings to get an understanding of why the case was dismissed.

Ashley Rasbach, the teacher who was also charged, is due back in Rome City Court for a conference on Oct. 10.

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(Previous coverage)

ROME – A trial is underway in Rome City Court for the teacher’s assistant who is accused of excessively disciplining a student at John E. Joy Elementary School.

Maria Fountain, 47, of Rome, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment. She’s accused of grabbing a special needs student by her arms and slamming them onto a table.

Fountain was charged back in June along with 30-year-old Ashley Rasbach, a teacher who is accused of grabbing a student by the hair and spraying them with a water bottle, and in another incident she allegedly squeezed a student between an open door and the wall, then picked the student up and dropped her onto the floor.

Fountain rejected a plea offer and requested a bench trial, which means a judge rather than a jury will decide whether or not she is guilty.

The trial began Wednesday in Rome City Court, where the prosecutor said that Fountain broke the golden rule: treat others like you would want to be treated. The defense, however, said that in a special education classroom, physical contact isn’t always abuse.

We will continue to follow this trial and provide updates as they become available. 

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