Category Archives: Abuse

Walk 4 Refuge

Domestic violence. You’ve probably seen enough headlines and news articles about it to last you a lifetime. There are hundreds of books that have been written based on true stories, told by victims of domestic violence. You might even be experiencing it yourself. If so, please head straight to the bottom of this post. Right…

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Through The Darkness, Into The Light

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. – Aristotle If the lack of posts on this site have taught me anything, it’s that I needed a break from my routine of self-expression. I’m finally back. Sort of. These past two months have been a bumpy ride. The writer inside me…

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Former School Bus Aide Sentenced For Abusing Student With Autism

By Andrea Flores

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– A former school bus aide who pleaded guilty to assaulting an autistic student on his way to and from school was sentenced to jail on Friday.

monica burke 21 Former School Bus Aide Sentenced For Abusing Student With Autism

Monica Burke (credit: CBS)

Monica Burke, 52, was sentenced to 20 months behind bars in Boulder on Friday. She will also have to spend five years on probation and perform 360 hours of community service.

Burke was charged with kicking and hitting the 20-year-old Longmont student as he was taken to and from a Denver school specializing in autism. Police say she also sprayed aerosol disinfectant in his face.

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(credit: St. Vrain Valley School District)

School bus surveillance video shows the abuse student Shiva Rai, who has autism, suffered day after day.

Prosecutors say Burke intentionally attacked the student and sprayed Lysol in his face during a seven-day period last summer.

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(credit: CBS)

“She betrayed our trust, she betrayed the nature of her job, she betrayed basic human morals, and there’s no other word for Monica Burke but evil,” said Laxmi Rai, Shiva’s sister. “Only an evil person can kick, punch, slap, chemically poison and torture someone like Shiva.”

monica burke 1 Former School Bus Aide Sentenced For Abusing Student With Autism

(credit: CBS)

Burke worked as a bus aide for the St. Vrain Valley School District.

Rai’s civil attorneys believe behavioral changes in the autistic student indicate the abuse happened long before it was reported.

“Shiva was the only person of color on that school bus. There were other autistic students on that bus and Shiva was the only one who was targeted,” said Qusair Mohamedbhai, a civil attorney for the student.

Burke claims depression and PTSD from being raped as a teenager caused her to lash out for the wrong reasons.

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Monica Burke walking into court on Friday (credit: CBS)

“I’m so sorry for my actions. Not only am I very sorry, but I’m very ashamed and very embarrassed of myself,” Burke said in court. “I truly am not that type of person that I saw on the videotapes.”

Burke’s attorney says she’s ready to serve her time.

“I am proud of Monica for owning up to her mistake, and facing everything that comes with it without hesitation,” said Defense Attorney Tanner Spracklen. “Her family is also proud of her.”

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Monica Burke in court on Friday (credit: CBS)

“The defendant was in a position of trust with regard to the victim, she had special obligations to take care of him, and so the conduct in the video was very concerning to us,” said Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett. “I’ve seen a number of cases involving victims with various impairments of one sort or another, and I’ve seen a number of cases with victims with autism, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this.”

St. Vrain Valley School District has agreed to make changes to their policies and procedures. They also reached a settlement with the family for $3.85 million, in conjunction with an insurance company.

“There have been a number of changes that the school has enacted as part of this case, those include things like greater monitoring of students, longer retention periods of video, and most important a higher level of education with dealing with disabled and autistic community,” said Rai’s civil attorney. “The family is most grateful for these types of changes because their primary goal is to ensure that this type of harm that this type of suffering doesn’t happen to another individual without a voice.”

William Hall Jr., another ex-employee of the St. Vrain Valley School District, faces trial for not reporting the abuse as he was driving the bus.

Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.

School Aide Who Assaulted Autistic Student Gets Jail Sentence

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A former school bus aide who pleaded guilty to assaulting an autistic student on his way to and from school is going to jail.

monica burke 21 School Aide Who Assaulted Autistic Student Gets Jail Sentence

Monica Burke (credit: CBS)

Fifty-two-year-old Monica Burke was sentenced to 20 months behind bars in Boulder on Friday. She will also have to spend five years on probation and perform 360 hours of community service.

Burke was charged with kicking and hitting the 20-year-old Longmont student as he was taken to and from a Denver school specializing in autism. Police say she also sprayed aerosol disinfectant in his face.

The student’s mother and father, the head of his school and other supporters were in court for the sentencing.

monica burke 1 School Aide Who Assaulted Autistic Student Gets Jail Sentence

(credit: CBS)

William Hall Jr., another ex-employee of the St. Vrain Valley School District, faces trial for not reporting the abuse as he was driving the bus.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Police escort to take place Thursday morning for Lea County Sheriff

Police escort to take place Thursday morning for Lea County Sheriff

LEA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – In just hours, law enforcement is expected to escort the body of Lea County Sheriff Steve Ackerman from Albuquerque back to Lovington.

This as investigators look into the cause of the crash that killed him on a New Mexico highway.

Multiple agencies from across the state including Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the Albuquerque Police Department and New Mexico State…

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1 Killed, 5 Wounded In Chicago Shootings On Wednesday

1 Killed, 5 Wounded In Chicago Shootings On Wednesday

CHICAGO (CBS) — A man was shot dead and five more people were wounded in separate attacks Wednesday on the South and West sides of Chicago.

The killing happened about 9:20 a.m. in the Austin neighborhood, where someone walked up to a 34-year-old man sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle parked in the 4700 block of West Flournoy, and shot him in the abdomen and the arm, according to Chicago…

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Man Charged With DUI, Reckless Homicide For Fatal Dekalb Crash

Man Charged With DUI, Reckless Homicide For Fatal Dekalb Crash

CHICAGO (CBS) — A west suburban man has been charged with DUI and reckless homicide for a crash that left one man dead Tuesday evening in DeKalb.

The four-vehicle crash involving a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado, a 1995 Ford F-150, a 2000 Ford Taurus and a 2002 Hyundai Elantra happened at 7:18 p.m. on Illinois Route 38 east of Peace Road, according to the DeKalb County sheriff’s office.

The driver of…

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Man Shot, Seriously Wounded In Austin Robbery

Man Shot, Seriously Wounded In Austin Robbery

CHICAGO (CBS) — A man was shot and seriously wounded during an Austin neighborhood robbery early Thursday on the West Side.

The 50-year-old was outside warming his car about 4:15 a.m. in the 5000 block of West Ohio when two people walked up, pulled him out of his vehicle and announced a robbery, according to Chicago Police.

The suspects took $100 from the victim then shot him in the leg before…

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