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January 11, 2004

Former Staff Member At School For Deaf Convicted

From: Champlain, NY - Jan 11, 2004

(Please see this article: Austine counselor's conviction reversed)

Man Faces 60 Years In Prison

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -- A former staff member of the Austine School for the deaf is facing 60 years in prison after being convicted of forcing a 13-year-old student to perform sex acts on him.

John Rehkop, 33, was convicted Saturday after a five-day trial that used four sign language interpreters.

The victim, the defendant and many witnesses were hearing impaired.

The jury found that the incidents that led to the charges happened five years ago in the bathrooms and offices of the Austine School.

Rehkop's attorney Joanne Baltz had argued there were inconsistencies in the victim's statements and that the victim was known for telling lies.

Rehkop is now being held pending sentencing.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.