On Your Side: Alleged child abuse at Piccolo School

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- News 4 has learned Washoe County School Police and Child Protective Services are both looking into allegations a teacher abused a student. The claims surround a 9-year-old who attends Marvin Piccolo School.

The child's mother is Karessa Battenfeld. She said she learned through Washoe County's Child Protective Services that her daughter may have been the victim of abuse. Even more disturbing is the alleged abuse may have come from someone she is supposed to trust.

A few weeks ago, Battenfeld said she was left in tears after receiving an unexpected phone call from an investigator with Child Protective Services. "Stating um, stating that there was a possibility my daughter's teacher had been hurting her."

Battenfeld said she never dreamed anyone would harm her daughter, Autumn. Autumn suffers from several conditions including a rare brain disorder. She is unable to walk or talk and is totally dependent on others for her care.

Battenfeld says what the investigator told her about Autumn's teacher deeply disturbed her. "Allegedly, the story is she had been ripping her out of her wheelchair and throwing her."

Dottie Goldsberry said her daughter called her immediately after receiving the call from Child Protective Services. "She called me very upset, crying."

Goldsberry said after learning the news she began asking questions. She learned the complaint was filed in March anonymously, after someone witnessed a teacher putting Autumn on a horse at the school.

"She can't sit up. She can't ride a horse by herself," said Goldsberry. "From my understanding it's only the Equestrian Program that takes the children out of their chairs. When my granddaughter started crying and screaming, she yanked her off the horse and threw her into the chair."

As they await the outcome of the investigations, they said their views of Autumn's school and teacher have drastically changed. "You completely trust this person to take care of your child and that's completely shattered. That trust is completely shattered."

News 4 has also learned the teacher in question has been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigations.