Civil action settles in high-profile Berkeley County school abuse case

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The 2018 abuse allegations stemming from a special needs classroom at Berkeley Heights Elementary School are inching closer to a resolution.

The Berkeley County Board of Education agreed unanimously Friday to settle lawsuits stemming from the abuse allegations.

On Monday, a hearing scheduled in 23rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Laura Faircloth’s courtroom was set to approve and distribute the settlement proceedings.

The terms of the settlement are not being disclosed.

Berkeley County Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy released a statement that said, “The board voted to approve the submission of the settlement to the court because it is believed to be in the best interest of the school system, and all involved.”

The lawsuits stem from incidents in 2018 in which the Amber Pack, the mother of a special needs daughter placed a recording device in her child’s hair that picked up alleged verbal and possible physical abuse. As a result of that recording, other parents also became involved in suits against the parties involved.

Former Berkeley Heights Elementary School special education teacher Christina Victoria Lester and aides June Elizabeth Yurish and Kristin Lynn Douty were later charged with single misdemeanor counts of failure to report suspected abuse and neglect, according to court records.

Amber Pack referred questions regarding the settlement to attorney Ben Salango, who represented the Pack family in the case.

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