Two school teachers in New York City have been arrested and put on administrative leave after reportedly punching and inappropriately touching 12-year-old students. The incidents allegedly took place on separate occasions.
The NY Daily News reported that Brian Thomas, 33, was arrested after he apparently punched a pre-teen boy inside PS 161 in Manhattanville around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. The boy was subsequently taken to the hospital, but he was not seriously injured. The report did not indicate what led to the altercation.
Thomas was reportedly charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment.
“This alleged behavior is very troubling and completely unacceptable,” Jenna Lyle, a Department of Education spokeswoman, said. “This employee has been reassigned away from the school and students pending the outcome of the arrest and if convicted, we will pursue termination.”
Just a short time later in the Bronx, Mohamed Baksh, 70, was arrested on charges of sexual misconduct, forcible touching, and endangering the welfare of a child, per the report. The arrest took place in the 42nd Precinct.
The female student claimed Baksh had groped her breast while trying to give her a hug.
Lyle stated that Baksh’s alleged behavior was “concerning and unacceptable.”
“Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our students,” she added.
She noted that Baksh had been reassigned away from students, and that the department would move forward with termination if he was convicted of the crime.
This arrests come after another New York teacher was recently caught with graphic images of child sex abuse. As part of an investigation, an FBI agent pretending to be a 13-year-old girl named “Riley” traded messages with Kostas Fekkas, 34, who allegedly said that he preferred underage girls, and that he had sex “with a 10th grader once.”
Fekkas taught at a charter school located in Manhattan when he was arrested on September 14. He allegedly kept child sex abuse material on a cellphone app that looked like a calculator called HideU. Investigators discovered explicit photos of a 12-year-old girl on Fekkas’ phone.
When messaging “Riley,” Fekkas apparently pushed her to send nude photos. When “Riley” sent a photo of her face, Fekkas allegedly responded: “Like I’d make out with you all day lolllll (sic).” He eventually went on to say that he wanted her “to be super comfortable before you show me more of your face and before I get to see your body.”
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