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The Carthage Press
  • Woman pleads not guilty to statutory rape

  • A former Jasper High School employee who has been charged with having sex with a Jasper student said she's not guilty of the crime in her arraignment on Wednesday.
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  • A former Jasper High School employee who has been charged with having sex with a Jasper student said she's not guilty of the crime in her arraignment on Wednesday.
    Janice Lorene Rusk, 42, rural Carthage, was charged on April 15 with one count of felony second degree statutory rape and one count of felony second degree statutory sodomy after an investigation that Sheriff's Capt. Derek Walrod said started in March.
    Rusk appeared before Jasper County Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to both counts.
    The next hearing in the case is set for 9:05 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21, in Judge Copeland's court at the Jasper County Courts building in Joplin.
    Rusk remains free on $5,000 bond.
    According to a sworn statement, filed in the case on April 7 by Sheriff's Det. Ed Bailey, he was called on March 26 by the Children's Division and the Jasper Police Department about incidents of sexual contact between Rusk and "several juvenile males."
    Bailey wrote that he interviewed the juvenile male on April 2 and that's when the male told Bailey he had sexual intercourse with Rusk on the first week of December, 2013.
    Bailey wrote that the boy had been texting with Rusk "for a while," and they agreed to meet at a bridge at the west end of a family's property on Baseline Road. The name of the family was redacted in the sworn statement.
    The statement said Rusk arrived and told the boy he could not tell anyone about the event, then proceeded to stroke him before they engaged in intercourse.
    Rusk no longer works in her former job as a para-professional in the Jasper school district.
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