MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The jury trial for a man charged with “willfull torture/abuse of a child by a caregiver” is expected to get underway on January 23.
32-year-old Theron Benjamin Rice, a former contract employee for Madison City Schools (MCS), was arrested on May 6, 2019. He was released from jail the following day.
A Grand Jury indicted Rice that October; he formally entered a plea of not guilty the following January.
Rice’s arrest was the result of an investigation into allegations of abuse into another employee, Jamerson Lee Baker, who was also arrested in a case of the same nature just weeks before Rice’s arrest, though police said the two issues were unrelated.
In a statement issued shortly after his arrest, MCS Superintendent at the time Robby Parker said Rice hadn’t worked at any of their schools since October 2018.
Despite not specifically addressing the allegations against Rice due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, Parker did say the school system was also conducting its own review.
Baker, a former special education staffer at MCS, was arrested and charged with willful torture/abuse of a child by a caregiver. He was also released from jail the following day.
Parker said Baker was also a contract employee through a staffing agency.
“The reported behavior that led to the arrest and removal from our campuses goes against acceptable practices in properly restraining kids,” said Parker. “Our students deserve only the best care and attention, with all situations handled professionally in every circumstance.”
Baker is set to go to trial on February 6. A docket hearing in his case is scheduled for Jan. 27 at the Limestone County Courthouse.