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Riverdale HS Education Assistant Arrested for Extortion, Assault

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Riverdale High School Educational Assistant Maurice O'Neal, 27, has been charged with misconduct, extortion and assault, the Rutherford County School system said Thursday.

O'Neal, 27, of Short Creek Road in Christiana, was booked into the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center on a $35,000 bond.

Rutherford County Schools said in a press release it has suspended Maurice C. O'Neal without pay pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into allegations involving at least one student.

Maj. Bill Sharp, of the Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division, said School Resource Officer James Coots provided information to SRO supervisors and detectives about the allegations against O'Neal. Sheriff's School Resource Officer James Coots notified supervisors about the allegations by a student.

Detective Sgt. Dan Goodwin and Detective Brooks began the investigation and served a search warrant that corroborated the allegations, Sharp said.

A hearing is set May 29 in General Sessions Court.

O'Neal has been employed with the school district since September 10, 2012. He previously served as a custodian at Eagleville School, a summer custodian at Christiana Elementary School and an education assistant at LaVergne High School.
The school system said O'Neal passed all background checks prior to employment and received favorable recommendations from past supervisors.

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