Elizabeth Spoon Lived as a Fugitive for 22 Years in Suburban Massachusetts

"In the summer of 2000, my mother was hospitalized, and my sister took care of me, and then asked me to come and live with her permanently. I think of my sister as a mother even now," Aaron Goss wrote. "She has always had my best interests in mind, and is a loving and caring person."

The decades-old warrant for Spoon's arrest was found by a state trooper during a search of some old files, and she was arrested in December.

In court this week, Spoon pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault and battery and was placed on three years probation for the 1988 knife attack.

She has been placed on administrative leave from her job as a teacher at the Briscoe Middle School in Beverly, Massachusetts, and her teaching license is now in jeopardy. A decision on whether to revoke that license will come from the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education sometime in the next few months.

But today Beverly Schools Superintendent Jim Hayes expressed his support for Spoon and said he would advocate on her behalf.

"I would like to have her back in the classroom," he said.

Parents at the Briscoe Middle School were initially shocked by the charges against Spoon, Hayes said. But now, Hayes said, there is a "broad feeling that this woman is a wonderful teacher and should be allowed to put the past behind her."

Even though Spoon pleaded guilty to the crime she committed years ago, her friends think the story is not about how justice was finally served, but rather about how a young girl in an abusive relationship can beat the odds and live a meaningful and productive life.

Patricia Chisholm, who has been friends with Spoon for almost 20 years now, called her a true heroine in her letter to the court.

"She is a true example of how an individual can, with self determination and societal support, rise from the ashes of abuse and despair," Chisholm wrote.

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