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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
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Mother Claims School Program Hired Predator

BRONX, N.Y. (CN) - After a teacher forced a student to give him oral sex in a school stairwell, school officials dismissed her complaints as lies and failed to report the teacher, the girl's mother claims in court.

Jerea Green sued Good Shepherd Services, former teachers Steven Walters and Tracey Plaskin, after-school program director Otis Bellamy and eight other program administrators, on behalf of her daughter K.H.

Green claims Walters, one of her daughter's after-school teachers, sexually assaulted K.H. and then sent her back to the classroom, where another teacher accused her of lying about what has just happened.

Good Shepherd is a New York nonprofit that operates after-school programs in the five boroughs of New York City, according to the complaint in Bronx County Supreme Court.

Green says her daughter, who attended New York City Public School C.S. 300 in the Bronx, enrolled in its after-school program in September 2013.

Good Shepherd's teachers, including Walters and Plaskin, supervised children after school until their parents picked them up around 6 p.m., according to the lawsuit.

"On Nov. 13, 2013, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the infant plaintiff was in her normal classroom being supervised by defendant Plaskin," the complaint states. "Defendant Walters then entered the classroom and requested that she come with him. Defendant Walters did not give a reason to defendant Plaskin or the infant plaintiff as to why he wanted her to come with him.

"After the infant plaintiff exited her classroom, defendant Walters directed her to the second (2nd) floor stairwell. After arriving at the stairwell, defendant Walters told her that was sufficient, and at that time ordered her to get on her knees and forced her to perform fellatio on him. This lasted approximately five (5) minutes. After defendant Walters told the infant plaintiff she was finished, he then ordered her to return to her classroom. Defendant Walters did not accompany her back to the classroom but stayed behind to pull up and clean his pants.

"Infant plaintiff was scared and terrified but upon returning to her classroom, she immediately informed defendant Plaskin of what had just occurred. Defendant Plaskin indignantly told her she was lying and that defendant Walters would never do something like that. Defendant Plaskin then told the infant plaintiff to return to her seat and remain quiet. Defendant Plaskin never reported the incident to her superiors or the police department.

"The infant plaintiff returned to school the following day, Nov. 14, 2013, but complained of chest pains. The plaintiff's father picked her up from school and took her home. The infant plaintiff did not attend the afterschool program that day and was admitted to Lincoln Hospital from Nov. 16 through Nov. 18. She was later diagnosed as having asthmatic symptoms and was discharged on Nov. 18, 2013.

"The infant plaintiff felt ashamed and disgusted with herself following the sexual assault. The infant plaintiff was overwhelmed with pain and disgust and told her mother Jerea Green about what happened after she came home from Good Shepherd Services on Nov. 22, 2013. She did not tell her mother sooner because she felt that no one would believe her as defendant Plaskin did not."

The lawsuit does not state how old K.H. was at the time.

K.H.'s parents talked to the school's principal, who started an investigation a few days later. A police detective who interviewed K.H. and classmates in the after-school program discovered that two other students had been abused by Walters, according to the complaint.

Green claims the other victims also had complained to Plaskin, who accused them of lying and took no other steps.

Good Shepherd put Walters and Plaskin on leave, but Plaskin briefly returned to school in December. She no longer works there, according to the lawsuit.

Green claims the school knew about Walters' previous sexual misconduct, but failed to report him and failed to protect students.

She says her daughter is getting psychiatric treatment to address her serious psychological injuries.

The Bronx County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting Walters, according to the complaint.

Green seeks compensatory and punitive damages for negligent hiring and supervision, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery.

She is represented by Benjamin Calev.

"The safety of our students at Good Shepherd Services is of the utmost concern to us," a spokeswoman for the nonprofit said in an email. "We are investigating the allegations that have been made and have been advised that we should refrain from any further comments about the allegations given our participant's right to privacy and confidentiality and the anticipated litigation."

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