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Former Scott special ed teacher indicted in alleged abuse of student

Wes Bunch • Apr 1, 2013 at 9:23 AM

GATE CITY — A former Scott County Schools special education teacher was indicted by a grand jury Monday for allegedly abusing a mentally handicapped student who was under her supervision.

Heather Lambert, 37, of Mount Carmel, Tenn., was indicted on a single count of assault and battery of a mentally handicapped student, which is a misdemeanor.

Lambert's charge stems from an incident that allegedly occurred on Jan. 10 at the Scott County Career and Technical Center, which houses several special needs classes.

Scott County Commonwealth's Attorney Marcus McClung said his office decided to pursue the charge against Lambert after being contacted by Scott County Schools administrators in regard to the alleged abuse.

"The administration at the school approached us, and they caught something on videotape and we were allowed to look at it," McClung said. "We did interviews and issued a search warrant for the school and got records, and with cooperation of the school, gathered the information we needed before presenting it to the grand jury."

Authorities did not give an age or grade for the alleged victim. Lambert, who began working with the school system in 2007-08, was employed as a special education teacher until the Scott County School Board accepted her resignation in early March.

A statement put out Monday by Scott County Schools reiterated the fact that Lambert is no longer an employee of the system and stated that administrators would continue to work with law enforcement in their investigation.

"The top priority for our school system is having a safe learning environment for our students, and we take any matter potentially involving student safety very seriously," the statement read. "Our school administrators and personnel will continue to cooperate with the investigation by authorities in regard to Mrs. Lambert.

"Mrs. Lambert submitted her resignation to the school board last month and the school board has accepted her resignation. She will no longer be in the classroom for our school system."

The incident is being investigated by the Scott County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division and the Scott County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

McClung said his office waited until Monday to bring charges because of the time it took to gather the necessary evidence.

"It's a tough thing for the parents to do too, and we want to make sure that no more harm comes to the child," McClung said. "We wanted to make sure that we didn't make things more difficult on the victim, so it took a little longer (to present the charges)."

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