The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

April 15, 2014

Ex-Jasper teacher’s aide accused of sexual contact with student

JASPER, Mo. — A former teacher’s aide at Jasper High School has been charged with having sexual relations with a 16-year-old student and is being investigated for possible sexual contact with other boys at the school.

Janice L. Rusk, 43, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree statutory rape and second-degree statutory sodomy following investigations by school officials and law enforcement. Rusk posted a $5,000 bond and was released.

Superintendent Rick Stark said school officials first learned of the allegations March 14 and reported the matter on the state child abuse hot line. Stark said a staff member initially picked up some hearsay among students and informed the high school principal. He said Rusk subsequently resigned a few weeks ago.

A probable-cause affidavit states that a 16-year-old male student alleges that he had sexual contact with Rusk in December. The boy said he had been exchanging text messages with her and they agreed to meet at a bridge in the Jasper area. Upon meeting her, she told him he could not tell anyone what they were doing and then engaged in sexual acts with him.

Capt. Derek Walrod of the Jasper County sheriff’s office said an investigation of the matter is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated. He confirmed that investigators are looking into the possibility Rusk had sexual contact with other male students.

Stark said Rusk worked as a paraprofessional in the special education department of the high school. He said the investigation entails students in special education and other classes.

“The only position the school district has is that we hope the truth is found out, whatever that may be,” Stark said.


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