Originally created 06/08/06

Teacher jailed in beatings

A Sego Middle School teacher who resigned amid allegations he disciplined students by having other students rough them up has been indicted.

Maurice Wallace, 30, is in jail without bond, although a magistrate judge could consider bond today, said Capt. Gene Johnson of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

Mr. Wallace faces three counts of cruelty to children and three counts of failure to report child abuse.

The indictment against Mr. Wallace was returned by a grand jury May 30, but it was under seal until his arrest on a grand jury arrest warrant Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Wallace is accused of causing three different boys to go into a school closet where they were punched. The failure to report child abuse, a misdemeanor offense, alleges that as a teacher, Mr. Wallace was legally obligated to report any suspected abuse to the person in charge of the school. The incidents occurred between April 15 and May 31, according to the indictment.

Three boys reported that they were sent to Mr. Wallace's eighth-grade science class after misbehaving in their own classrooms. Once there, Mr. Wallace allegedly sent them into a closet where eighth-grade students roughed them up.

Augusta attorney Kirk Gilliard, who is representing the families of two of the alleged victims, said Wednesday that civil litigation is a possibility.

The boys were bruised and humiliated after the incidents, Mr. Gilliard said.

"You send your kids to school to learn, and to be disciplined when appropriate," not to be beaten up by bigger students, he said.

The boys didn't tell their parents after the incidents because they feared further abuse, Mr. Gilliard said. They were told, "Snitches get stitches."

Mr. Wallace resigned at the end of May, about two weeks after students started talking about the alleged incidents.

His case has been assigned to Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet in Richmond County Superior Court. No court date has been set.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.


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