Friday, April 23, 2010

Teacher Accused of Molesting Female Students Got Slap on Wrist for 2005 Incident by John Lauinger and Rachel Monahan - NY Daily News

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The fourth-grade teacher arrested for molesting five female students roughed up a pupil years ago - but only got a slap on the wrist, the Daily News has learned.

School officials found that accused serial sicko Simon Watts used corporal punishment against a student in 2005 - one of three investigations into his conduct while he taught at Public School 115 in Canarsie, Brooklyn, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Since it was Watts' first infraction, the offense was noted in his file, but no further action was taken, said Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg.

She said another allegation of corporal punishment was investigated and not substantiated. A third allegation was investigated but not substantiated by the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation.

The city told parents at P.S. 15 in Springfield Gardens, Queens, in a letter Wednesday that Watts, 38, had been arrested for repeatedly fondling female students.

In a pattern of abuse at the school dating to 2007, the hulking Watts is accused of unzipping his pants in front of one pupil and forcing three others to grab his genitals as other students sat at their desks nearby.

Parents fumed they were just notified when prosecutors claim the abuse ended after Watts was reassigned away from children early last month.

Watts, arraigned on a host of felony charges, is the subject of an administrative hearing to yank him from the payroll, Feinberg said.

Feinberg said Watts was placed in a rubber room twice during the investigations at P.S. 115 in Brooklyn.

Describing Watts as an "oily snake," a source familiar with his tenure there, said Watts also was the subject of persistent rumors he'd abused female students.

"He was asked to leave," the source said. "It was strongly suggested he leave the school."