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School system employee accused of criminal abuse

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SALYERSVILLE – A tip to social services lead to an arrest on Tuesday night, with a Magoffin woman accused of abusing a child.

On Tuesday, April 2, Kentucky State Police Trooper Dustin Thompson responded to a request for assistance from a Magoffin County Department of Social Services worker who had been informed by the Magoffin County School system of possible abuse at a residence on Jim Arnett Branch Road.

The social services worker advised Thompson the child had told her that the night before Rose Arnett, 60, of Salyersville, had hit him over the head with a piece of wood two to three times and on the left wrist once as he was trying to cover up to keep from getting struck, again. She told police that the child now has scabs on the top of his head. The child had described the stick as having a handle whittled onto it and measured with his hands as to how long it was. 

When they arrived at the residence, they made contact with a man who lives there, who invited them inside and permitted them to speak to the child, according to the police report.

Thompson wrote in the citation that he introduced himself to the juvenile and asked him how he received the injuries and the child told him the same thing he had told the social services worker. 

The child also told Thompson that he had rubbed his head and had some blood on his finger. Thompson examined his head and observed two scabbed areas, taking pictures of his head and left wrist.

Thompson also reported that the juvenile told him he had been locked in his room and not allowed out, noting that it was a common occurrence. The child told him he is given a blue coffee can to use the restroom in when he needs to relieve himself.

Then Thompson went to check the boy’s bedroom, observing a lock just above head height to the officer and a strong odor of urine. The man reportedly told law enforcement that the boy often urinates in the bed. 

At the end of the bed on the floor, Thompson located a blue coffee can with a lid on it, which the man confirmed is for the child to use as a restroom. Directly across from the boy’s bedroom is the bathroom, according to the police report. 

The child told Thompson that when he got home from school Arnett had found out that social services had been contacted and that she yelled at him and pulled his hair. 

Thompson located the stick the child had described and he confirmed it was the one used to strike him.

He then spoke to Arnett, who stated that on Monday night the boy got in trouble and she had used a “switch” to discipline him, noting that he must have been struck on the wrist by accident. She told law enforcement that at no time had she ever hit the child on the head and that she’s not sure how the scabs got on his head.

Arnett also told police she locks the child in his bedroom at night to keep him from taking things in the residence, but said she would remove the lock. 

Law enforcement asked her about the bathroom privileges and the coffee can and she reportedly told Thompson the child is given the can to use in the middle of the night and that he has an intellectual disability which has made potty training difficult. 

Arnett was arrested and taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, charged with one count of first-degree criminal abuse, child 12 or under (Class C felony). She has since been released, pending future court dates.

Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton confirmed for Mortimer Media Group that Arnett is the head janitor at Herald Whitaker Middle School and has been employed by the district for close to 33 years. He noted that the alleged incident did not occur on school grounds, calling it a family matter, and stated that he cannot speak of any actions taken by the school district at this time. He said he does have a meeting scheduled with the employee in question, after which he may be able to release more information. 

Editor's Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
 

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