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COLUMBUS | A couple raising a 14-year-old developmentally disabled student say they hid a recording device on the girl to prove a teacher and school aide were bullying her, and the audio and subsequent investigations have led to a lawsuit, the aide’s resignation and disciplinary action for the teacher.

The girl’s mother and the woman’s longtime boyfriend said in court documents that they complained about the mental and emotional abuse to school officials in the Miami Trace district, and then secretly recorded instructors’ comments for four days last spring after their claims were rebuffed.

In the recording, voices identified as aide Kelly Chaffins and teacher Christie Wilt are heard questioning the girl’s weight and physical activity, and making derogatory comments about her character and the character of her mother and the boyfriend.

“Are you that damn dumb? Are you that dumb?” Miss Chaffins said. “Oh, my God. You are such a liar. … You told me you don’t know. It’s no wonder you don’t have friends. No wonder nobody likes you. Because you lie, cheat … steal.”


Monks sell business, end prayers, disband

SPARTA | Monks who operated a multimillion-dollar Internet business selling printer inks and toners from rural Wisconsin - and promised to offer prayers for their customers - have sold their company and assets and disbanded their small monastic community.

Just two years ago, the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank near Sparta had projected sales of $3.5 million for LaserMonks Inc. But today, the monks’ 15,000-square-foot home and 500 acres are for sale at an asking price of $2.6 million. The LaserMonks name and customer list have been sold to a California firm. Religious artifacts, furniture and farm equipment were sold at auction last month.

Although the abbey, about 180 miles northwest of Milwaukee, was built to accommodate nearly 20 monks, membership had dwindled by the time it closed. The three remaining monks have gone their separate ways.

The abbey’s attorney, Kevin Roop, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the economic downturn and increased competition forced the monks to liquidate the business, which sold laser-printer inks and toners as well as other office and school supplies and gifts. Their website also accepted prayer requests.


Defense: Toss murder conviction after tweets

LITTLE ROCK | A man sent to death row for robbing and shooting a teenager after a party should have his murder conviction overturned because a judge wouldn’t dismiss a juror caught tweeting during the trial, his lawyers argued Thursday to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Erickson Dimas-Martinez’s lawyer told justices the juror was tweeting during her client’s 2010 trial for the slaying of Derrick Jefferson, despite the judge’s instruction to not to post on the Internet or otherwise or communicate with anyone about the case.

“He’s paying more attention to his twittering than the evidence,” said Janice Vaughn with the Arkansas Public Defender Commission.

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