Woodland Hills Employee Accused Of Assaulting Teen Headed To Trial

RANKIN (KDKA) — A Woodland Hills School District employee is headed to trial on charges he allegedly physically assaulted a student.

After his preliminary hearing on Wednesday, 50-year-old Joseph Golden III, of Verona, shielded his face from TV cameras when he came out of the courtroom Thursday.

He’s been ordered to stand trial on charges of simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Golden was a faculty member at the Woodland Hills Promise Alternative School in Rankin. He has been suspended. His job description was a behavioral specialist.

The charges stem from an April 12 incident where Golden is seen on a school security camera lifting a 13-year-old boy by the neck and carrying him down a hallway.

KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports —

Video of the incident was presented as evidence at his preliminary hearing.

“From what I saw, all he did was grab him and take him down the hall. He didn’t choke him. He picked him up around the neck and shoulder. The kid didn’t go to the hospital, he didn’t go to the doctor, he told the principal he wasn’t hurt. This isn’t a simple assault. I don’t understand,” defense attorney Pat Thomassey said.

After viewing the video, a district magistrate decided the case should go to trial.

Golden’s defense attorney told reporters that his client was merely doing his job, which is maintaining order.

“This young man left class two or three times and he returned him two or three times, and finally the kid said, ‘I’m going to do what I want,'” Thomassey said.

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The Promise School is an alternative education program for what are described as “at risk” students.

Thomassey says his client is looking forward to clearing his name.

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