MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Three women facing charges for failing to report alleged verbal abuse of non-verbal special needs students at Berkeley Heights Elementary School will be in court early next year after a plea agreement offered on their behalf was rejected by a judge.

“There’s actually a rule of professional conduct, rule 3.6, that prohibits any litigants, any attorneys from talking about any potential plea of guilty.  It’s for good reason.   Pre trial publicity is very much frowned up on and why you hear me say I cannot comment on any given case,” said Berkeley County Prosecutor Catie Wilkes Delligatti, who confirmed the impending court appearance on Panhandle Live Monday.

Delligatti says the trial for the three women will likely happen in late January of next year. “Like with any other case, the state will be ready and willing to proceed and try that case,” Deligatti said.

The defendants, former teacher Christina Victoria Lester and teacher’s aides June Elizabeth Yurish and Kristin Lynn Douty have been charged with allegedly failing to report abuse that was captured on a recording device.

In the fall of 2018, Adri Pack’s mother Amber placed a recording device in her daughter Adri’s hair that recorded alleged verbal abuse at Berkeley Heights Elementary School. Adri, who is a non-verbal special needs student, was 6 years-old at the time of the alleged events.

The following August, Pack family attorney Ben Salango told the Panhandle News Network, “As I understand it, they’ve been charged with failing to report suspected child abuse. Teachers, of course, are mandatory reporters. If they witness or suspect abuse, they have a legal obligation to report it. This was going on in the classroom and so their failure to report resulted in these charges.”

The Journal reports Berkeley County Circuit Judge Laura Faircloth rejected the plea deal, saying that the court found the deal unacceptable due to the lack of remorse shown by the defendants. In addition to the charges, the three are also facing a lawsuit from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey that would require them to pay $5,000 for each violation of the state’s Human Rights Act.