HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A teacher pleaded guilty to unlawful neglect of a child at a Conway courthouse Monday for abuse that was allegedly caught on tape in a special education classroom at Forestbrook Elementary.
Anna Rogers entered a plea deal on Monday, giving up her right to a trial. Parents of the students who were allegedly abused gave tearful testimony before the judge Monday, and Rogers' children also broke down while talking to the judge, begging to not have their mother taken away.
Rogers also directly addressed the students' parents in court.
"I sincerely apologize for the emotional pain that both you and Noah have suffered as a result of anything happening in my classroom," Rogers said to the student's parents in the courtroom.
She added, "I hope you know I love your son and want the best for all of my students."
She admitted she should have been more adamant in getting additional help from the school to handle her classroom.
"I often think about [your son] and I hope he is reaching all of his goals. I am truly sorry," ended Rogers.
Rogers was found guilty of unlawful conduct towards a child and was sentenced to three years in prison. She also agreed to a consent order to permanently and voluntarily surrender her license to teach in South Carolina, and will be placed on a child abuse registry.
Rogers, along with teacher's aide Linda Warriner, was arrested in April 2013 after a student went to school with a digital recording device and captured everything that happened inside the special education classroom at Forestbrook Elementary.
That student's mother explained in front of the judge that she decided to put the recorder in her son's pocket after his behavior continued to worsen. She shared stories about night terrors, outburst, and even a regression in his potty training.
From the child's perspective, the audio recording seems to show the teacher's aide, Linda Joyce Warriner of Myrtle Beach, screaming at the child "that he was bad and had to go to the office," the report states.
But in this case the office was a 5' by 5' bathroom. While in that room, the child was asked to repeat what he had done to deserve that punishment, and how he wouldn't do it again.
The digital recording also captured the child screaming Warriner's name while asking that someone "stop pinching him...and not to hit him."
Although the recording contained only audio and does not implicitly capture this alleged abuse, Warriner and Rogers, can be heard saying how it's "a good thing that there are not cameras in the room yet."
On Monday, Rogers' family said that recording is up for interpretation, that the words are hard to understand, and that the actions described by the student's mother doesn't sound like Rogers.
The recording was given to the Horry County School District by the child's mother. District employees then contacted Horry County Police to determine if criminal charges were warranted.
Anna Rogers and Linda Warriner were booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in April 2013 and charged with the unlawful neglect of a child. Both were released the same day with $10,000 bond each.
Warriner was sentenced in April 2014 to three years in prison for unlawful neglect of a child.