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County Schools suspends educational assistant pending outcome of criminal investigation

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Maurice C. O'Neal

Rutherford County Schools has suspended Maurice C. O'Neal without pay pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into allegations involving at least one student. Prior to the suspension, O'Neal served as an educational assistant at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.

O’Neal, 27, of Short Creek Road in Christiana, was charged with official misconduct, extortion and assault by Sheriff’s Detective Phil Brooks.

Maj. Bill Sharp of the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division, said School Resource Officer James Coots provided information to SRO supervisors and detectives about the allegations against O’Neal. Sheriff’s School Resource Officer James Coots notified supervisors about the allegations by a student.

Detective Sgt. Dan Goodwin and Detective Brooks began the investigation and served a search warrant that corroborated the allegations, Maj. Sharp said.

No other information will be given because the case remains under investigation, Maj. Sharp said.

O’Neal is being held on $35,000 bond at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center. A hearing is set May 29 in General Sessions Court.

He has been employed with the school district since Sept. 10, 2012. He previously served as a custodian at Eagleville School, a summer custodian at Christiana Elementary School and an education assistant at LaVergne High School.

O'Neal passed all background checks prior to employment and received favorable recommendations from past supervisors. The school district cannot release any additional information at this time because of the ongoing criminal investigation.

For additional information about the criminal investigation, please contact the Rutherford County Sheriff's office at (615) 898-7770.


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