By Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2020

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A former Columbia teacher’s aide who inappropriately touched a young special needs student inside a middle school classroom has been sentenced to two years of probation.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that 61-year-old Thomas Harrell Edwards was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to a single count of misdemeanor fourth-degree assault.

Edwards, who joined Columbia Public Schools as a paraprofessional in September 2003 and later worked as a classroom aide at Oakland Middle School, was fired in early 2017.

The victim’s family, who is not being identified to protect the child, said they are devastated. They had hoped he would serve some jail time. But the victim’s mother said they don’t blame the prosecutors.

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