Queensbury, N.Y. – Marjorie Jones, a former school bus driver in upstate New York has been sentenced to three years of probation after she placed duct tape over a 7-year-old disabled girl’s mouth.
Along with three years of probation, The Washington Post reports that Jones will also have to perform 100 hours of community service under the sentence, which was handed down on Monday by a Queensbury town justice.
The New York Daily News reports that Jones received her paperwork after leaving the court, where Judge Michael Muller chose to reject a bid by the prosecution to throw her in jail. Muller stated, after handing down the lighter sentence, that, “I don’t believe incarceration is appropriate here.”
Marjorie Jones was apologetic about the incident and insisted that she never intended to hurt the girl, Angelina Kio, who cannot speak and has the mental capacity of a 2-year-old. Jones resigned from the school district last year, after more than 30 years of service, and stated, “I am sorry for what I did. It was a playful thing.”
Despite her assertions, prosecutors were able to present evidence that Jones had disabled a bus surveillance camera, which could have captured the duct tape incident. Also, prosecutor Matt Burin told the court, according to The New York Daily News, that after the taping, Jones asked if Kio would ever be able to speak. Burin believes that, “What she really was saying was, ‘Do you think Angelina will ever tell on me?'”
The lawsuit also claims that Marjorie Jones had abused the girl repeatedly in the past, pulling her hair, slapping her, and shoving snow in her face. The Huffington Post reports that the 63-year-old former bus driver could have spent up to a year in jail if Judge Muller had been stiffer with his punishment.