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Former Austintown school bus aide sentenced for assault on special needs student

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN)- A former school bus driver aide convicted in September of assaulting a special needs student was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation with a 60-day jail sentence.

Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court handed down the sentence to Patricia Bennett, 59, of Warren, who was convicted in a jury trial of assault, a fourth-degree felony, and two first-degree misdemeanor counts of child endangering and falsification.

A jury convicted Bennett after a trial in September for the attack on the Leonard Kirtz School student on a bus in January of 2020. Bennett has been in the county jail since she was convicted Sept. 21.

Besides her jail time sentence, she will also be required to perform community service and is banned from working with any special needs children and will also receive anger management counseling.

The time Bennett has already served in the county jail will be credited toward her 60-day sentence.

Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews said it appeared from watching a video of the incident that Bennett had “snapped,” but he added what bothers him most is she has failed to take any responsibility for her actions.

The mother of the victim said she does not hold a grudge against Bennett and she thinks counseling would be more beneficial for her than jail time.

“I just hope going through this process will change her,” the victim’s mother said.

Defense counsel Michael Rossi asked the judge to remember what his client has lost since she was convicted.

In a barely audible voice, Bennett apologized.

“I’m so sorry this happened. I never meant for any of it to happen,” she said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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