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Former bus driver avoids jail time in abuse case

2012-07-09T12:07:00Z 2012-07-11T09:21:50Z Former bus driver avoids jail time in abuse caseDAVE CANFIELD -- dcanfield@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star

QUEENSBURY -- A judge spared Marjorie Jones jail time Monday for placing duct tape over the mouth of a disabled girl more than a year ago, but the former Corinth Central School District bus driver now faces a civil lawsuit from the victim’s family that also targets the district.

Jones, 63, was sentenced to 3 years of probation and 100 hours of community service Monday by Queensbury Town Justice Michael Muller, who convicted her of child endangerment, a misdemeanor, after a bench trial in May. Jones could have spent up to 1 year in the county jail for mistreating Angelina Kio, then a 7-year-old passenger on Jones’ bus who is unable to speak and has the cognitive abilities of a toddler.

“I don’t believe incarceration is appropriate here,” Muller said, citing Jones’ lack of criminal history as he rejected a request from Assistant District Attorney Matt Burin for Jones to receive at least a brief jail term.

As she left Queensbury Town Court Monday morning, Jones was served with a lawsuit by attorney Kurt Mausert, who represents parents Sabrina and Michael Kio, of Corinth. The suit seeks at least $250,000 from Jones and the school district.

Jones refused to comment after she was handed the lawsuit. Her attorney, David Klingebiel, said he would not comment on the suit because he hadn’t had the opportunity to read it.

When given the opportunity to speak in court, Jones apologized for her actions in the winter of the 2010-2011 school year but said she intended to cause no harm.

She said placing the tape over the girl’s mouth didn’t obstruct her breathing.

“I am sorry for what I did. It was a playful thing,” she said.

Jones testified at trial she placed a small piece of duct tape briefly over the girl’s mouth to distract her when she was acting up and yelling. She said on the witness stand she was “entertaining” Angelina Kio and that the girl was laughing.

Prosecutors presented evidence to show Jones disabled a surveillance camera on the bus that would have filmed her actions, and a bus attendant, Lynda McCasland, testified it wasn’t the first time Jones had mistreated the girl. Shortly after the duct-tape incident, Jones asked whether Angelina Kio might ever learn to speak, McCasland testified.

“That shows the defendant knew at that time what she did was wrong,” Burin told the judge Monday in arguing for a jail sentence. “What she was really saying was, ‘Do you think Angelina will ever tell on me?’”

He noted that a pre-sentencing report by the county’s probation department recommended jail time. Burin said Jones has not accepted responsibility for the crime.

“To her, this is all fun and games,” he said outside court. “To me and, I think, to the community, this is bullying in the extreme. She’s in a position of authority.”

Klingebiel argued Jones has acknowledged her actions since State Police began investigating her a year ago. Jones resigned while under investigation after more than three decades with the school district.

“I’ve known her awhile, and I don’t think she meant to cause any harm,” Klingebiel said outside court.

The incident occurred in the parking lot of the Prospect Child & Family Center in Queensbury, where Jones transported Kio and a few other Corinth children with special needs.

As part of her sentence, Jones must also pay a $200 fine and abide by an order of protection keeping her from contacting the Kios.

The lawsuit against Jones and the school district had been promised by Mausert since the beginning of the case, regardless of its outcome. He called Jones’ actions “torture,” and said the district should be held accountable because testimony showed it had no policy in place for reporting abuse.

Superintendent Daniel Starr acknowledged the district had been served with the lawsuit but refused to comment on it.

According to the lawsuit, Angelina Kio “is unable to speak, is not toilet trained, has behavioral issues and, even though she is 7 years of age, has the approximate mental capabilities of a 2-year-old.” She also suffers from cancer, according to the lawsuit.

The suit claims Jones pulled the girl’s hair, slapped her and shoved snow in her face on various occasions. It alleges the abuse would have been prevented if the district monitored the vehicle’s surveillance camera and adequately trained its employees.

It also alleges the girl’s treatment by Jones triggered emotional outbursts from her that caused a “loss of harmony” in the Kio household.

Klingebiel said after the sentencing he was unsure if he would file a notice of appeal, which must be filed within 30 days.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. scottycc31
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    scottycc31 - July 11, 2012 2:08 pm
    No jail time???!!!! Is this April Fool's Day??? Here we have bullying problems with kids.....and now an adult does this to a challenged child and she gets a slap on the wrist??? Wow, that really sends a "clear" message on how seriously the court takes this issue. This judge is a real piece of work!! I don't know how you sleep at night. This woman needs SERIOUS help and hope she doesn't have any kids of her own.
  2. scottycc31
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    scottycc31 - July 11, 2012 1:59 pm
    You tell them WCTaxpayer!!! Some people just don't get it!!!
  3. AlanB
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    AlanB - July 11, 2012 10:33 am
    I am the father of a developmentally delayed child and a former school bus driver. I am outraged by the actions of Marjorie Jones and feel that jail time was warranted. I hope that this terrible bullying has not forever scarred Angelina Kio, and that she can somehow enjoy her school bus experience in the future. This kind of ongoing abuse by a person in a position of trust is a parent's worst nightmare.
  4. wash cty taxpayer
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    wash cty taxpayer - July 10, 2012 4:33 pm
    Workinggirl-This monster of a woman admitted to doing this unthinkable act to this poor child .The laywers will make money for representing their clients and the parents hopefully will be awarded something for this woman's unspeakable acts towards their child..Yes , the taxpayers will be responsible, but how does all of this lessen the severity of her malicious act towards this helpless child.Someone needs to accountable for this inhumane behavior .It is not acceptable .Marjorie Jones should be paying her dues to this family and society behind bars.
  5. workinggirl
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    workinggirl - July 10, 2012 1:23 pm
    This child's parents will will make money off this. They didn't notice any thing wrong until some one reported it well after the fact. The lawyers will make money. The state will not be reimbursed anything. Congrats to the Corinth taxpayers you're the big losers in all this
  6. wash cty taxpayer
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    wash cty taxpayer - July 10, 2012 11:07 am
    I am totally sickened by this thoughtless decision.We are living in a world where responsible parents are teaching their chirdren that bulling someone is absolutely unacceptable.Schools are doing their part by implementing Zero Tolerance policies.for students who bully other children., In light of all of this she gets a mere slap on the wrist for bulling and endangering a defenseless sick child. Absolutely repulsive.
  7. Report Abuse
    - July 10, 2012 9:16 am
    This makes me SICK! I'm sure if the child was the son/daughter/relative of that judge, you can bet she'd be sitting in jail right now! Nuf Said!!
  8. Elky14
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    Elky14 - July 09, 2012 11:38 pm
    The verdict is upsetting! She is guilty of child abuse!
  9. 5756917
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    5756917 - July 09, 2012 8:17 pm
    Putting duck tape on her mouth was being "playful?" I don't think so. She should have to do her community service with duct tape on her mouth. What an idiot.
  10. Atheist1
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    Atheist1 - July 09, 2012 7:47 pm
    Why does it seem like child abuse is consistently mildly punished in NY? Shame on the judge. I cannot believe this outcome. This lady should most definitely be given jail time. There is no excuse for duct taping someone's mouth, especially a challenges little girl. Had she have thrown up from crying or screaming she would have died.
    This judge can't be serious and if so, he needs to be challenged.
  11. upstateresident
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    upstateresident - July 09, 2012 6:32 pm
    No jail time for such a horrific act?! This is one of the most disgusting things I've heard in a long time. I have so many things I could say about this, but they would probably be censored from the website. My condolences to the Kio family, especially their little girl, for having to endure the despicable acts of this horrible woman.
  12. faiknaim
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    faiknaim - July 09, 2012 3:04 pm
    Seriously??? No jail time? Messing with a 7 year old is bad enough, but one who is handicapped AND has cancer? That stoops to record lows. And her defense was "it was a playful thing" I'm speechless. This woman is disgusting. I feel so bad for the Kio family and the judge should be ashamed of himself for handing out this menial punishment.

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