BRANSON, Mo. – A former Branson schools teacher’s aide charged with sexual offenses involving students is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday (Feb. 28, 2017) after his arraignment today in Taney County Circuit Court.
The judge scheduled the appearance next week to learn Larry J. Pemberton’s plans for legal counsel, according to county prosecutor Jeff Merrell.
Pemberton, 59, was arraigned on charges of statutory sodomy and child molestation. He is being held in the Taney County Jail without bond, according to online court records.
Two boys, each of whom were 8-years-old at the time they allege that Pemberton touched them inappropriately, told investigators that the teacher’s aide took one of the male victims to the teacher/employee bathroom and touched the victim in his genitals. The probable cause statement notes that Pemberton would take the male victims to the bathroom regularly.
The other boy told detectives that Pemberton touched his body and pointed to the genitals on an anatomically correct drawing of a male. The boys were in a class for special needs students at Branson Cedar Ridge Elementary School.
The alleged offenses took place between August 1, 2013, and May 30, 2014.
Branson School Superintendent Brad Swofford said in a news conference on Thursday that Pemberton worked as a paraprofessional in the district for about 10 years.
“We are deeply saddened to call you here today and provide you with this very sobering information,” Swofford said at the news conference.
“The investigation into this matter is underway by the Branson School District and other agencies, but I will tell you it is ongoing and will be thorough,” he said.
A Branson attorney representing the boys and their families said this week that he will be pursuing a civil lawsuit against the school district. Michael Horn called this case “one more example of a school district attempting to cover-up misconduct to save face, endangering students.” Horn said they will be pursuing a lawsuit against the educator and school district.