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No charges filed against school aide accused of abusing Henrico child with autism

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Dec 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-19 22:22:58-05

HENRICO, Va. — Henrico police tell CBS 6 that no criminal charges will be placed after an eight-year-old child with autism was allegedly abused in the classroom.

Lieutenant Chris Eley says prosecutors determined there was not enough probable cause to move forward with charges.

Henrico father Britton Ellis told CBS 6, nearly a month ago, that his daughter’s teacher’s aide locked his daughter in a bathroom and hit her at Pemberton Elementary.

He shared an audio recording with us, which he believed incriminated the aide.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s office declined to discuss specifics of the case because Child Protective Services is still investigating.

But they did say in general terms, when there is an alleged victim that has a disability that makes it difficult to communicate; it is hard to reach the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof.

CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said this case would be hard to win.

“If a victim is not able to communicate and testify in a court room a prosecutor is just hamstrung,” Stone said.

We played the audio for Stone who said “it’s really painful to hear.”

He told us cases like this, without video, are hard to prosecute.

We reached out to Ellis about the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s decision, but he declined to comment and referred us to his attorney, Charlotte Hodges.

Hodges sent the following statement:

“We are obviously disappointed by the decision of the Commonwealth not to pursue criminal charges in light of the overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing by the aid. While disagreeing with the decision of the Commonwealth on this issue, Presley’s parents respect the decision that was made and will continue to work towards getting their daughter back in a safe and appropriate school environment.”

Andy Jenks, with Henrico Public Schools, told CBS6 that the instructional aide is no longer employed with the school system.

He said the last day of her temporary assignment was November 25..

Ellis told CBS 6 last month that he also had serious concerns about the way the school system handled his complaint. Read more here.