Police Investigating Allegations of Board of Education Employees Having Sex with Students in New Rochelle School District

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New Rochelle Police are investigating allegations that four current and former school district employees -- a janitor and three security guards -- were having sex with students while employed by the New Rochelle Board of Education. This is in addition to Jose Martinez, the former Assistant Principal at Jefferson Elementary School who admitted recently to having a course of oral and/or anal sex with a 14-year old boy at Isaac E. Young Middle School in 2010. The matter has been referred to the Westchester County District Attorney's office, sources say.

During my campaign for school board last year I related to Naomi Brickell, in what was intended to be a private conversation, that Jose Martinez was not the only case of a school district employee having sex with students that I had heard about. I told her that there were five names, including Martinez, that had come from multiple sources.

Talk of the Sound broke the Martinez story -- and the subsequent story of his arrest --because I had multiple, independent sources and I had additional sources saying that he had abruptly resigned and that he did not return my phone calls and messages I left for him.

On the morning of Monday March 14, 2011, Martinez' resignation letter was found by Jefferson Elementary School Principal Kim Nieves but Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak failed to inform the board of the resignation at the next board meeting the following night, March 15th. Board members learned of Martinez' resignation and the allegations that he was having sex with students from Talk the Sound. One board member, newly installed Board of Education President Chrisanne Petrone, had previously been informed by Isaac E. Young Middle School staff of complaints of inappropriate conduct by Jose Martinez but failed to raise the matter to the rest of the board and no action against Martinez was taken. Several months later, the board unanimously approved Martinez' promotion as Assistant Principal at the Jefferson school, with only Petrone aware of the allegations by staff against Martinez.

Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak was independently informed of near-identical complaints by another Isaac staff member who has since been promoted to a position as a district-wide administrator. Altogether, Talk of the Sound has identified six staff members who informed senior administrators or board members of serious issues with the conduct of Jose Martinez before and after he was promoted. No disciplinary action against Martinez was ever taken based on these, in retrospect, well-founded allegations of misconduct.

During the League of Women Voters debate, Brickell made public our private conversation and challenged me to "do something", adding that if it were her she would take action. I replied that I had already being "doing something" which is why I was able to break the Jose Martinez story in the first place. My story played a major role in his being questioned by police and making the admissions that led to his arrest and that I continued to work on reporting out the other stories. This exchange took place on TV and in the presence of a majority of the board members and district employees as well as two candidates who are newly-elected members of the board.

During the time I was investigating these allegations, Martinez was arrested and the janitor was fired. The janitor was fired, according to sources, after repeated incidents where he was caught viewing pornography on school district computers.

Two down and three to go.

The other three men -- they are all men, all but Martinez allegedly having sex with female students -- all continue to work for the school district as security guards. Had I been elected to the school board I would have requested their personnel files and looked into the allegations myself. I was not elected but Naomi Brickell was; she was sworn in this past July. On this past Tuesday, I attended my first board meeting since she was sworn-in and handed her an envelope containing the list of employees who were alleged to have had sex with students. In giving her the envelope, I reminded her of her remarks during the debate and told her that I was "doing something" by giving a board member the list of names.

Based on a phone call I just received this information has now made its way to the New Rochelle Police Department. Lt. Christopher Hearle called me wanting me to provide additional information. He said the police wanted to investigate because these would be crimes. I told him that I had not be able to gather sufficient evidence to publish a story about the other four men and my sources had, so far, been unwilling to come forward. I pointed that if I had the sort of information he was asking about I would have already published a story. I told Lt. Hearle that I would go back to my sources and reiterate what I have already told them many times -- that they need to come forward to the police with what they have told me. By virtue of this article I would again encourage them and anyone else who has information about Board of Education employees having sex with students to contact Lt. Hearle at the New Rochelle Police Department.

In the case of Martinez, there was a second parent who had complained about him being a pedophile but the woman apparently never came forward or police did not find her allegations credible because Martinez was only charged in the one case. In the case of the other employee who was fired, the allegations were that he had a long history of having sex with teenage girls. The three security guards were also alleged to have had sex with teenage girls. In one case, a girl was allegedly impregnated by the security guard. She left school, moved out of the area and had the child. In another case, video tape of the guard and a student going into a classroom was allegedly reviewed by security personnel at the high school this past spring, after the Martinez arrest.

The three security guards all work for Bruce Danielle, the head of security for the New Rochelle Board of Education. As has been reported here on Talk of the Sound, Danielle has received improper 211 waivers allowing him to double-dip on his New Rochelle Police Department pension, assisted others in doing so, hired employees who falsified their residency papers, destroyed evidence in a criminal case involving two students arrested at the high school for armed robbery, managed for many years an illegal gambling operation involving New Rochelle police officers and was a founding member of a web-site depicting graphic pornographic images of women and transsexuals. As head of security, Danielle has been involved in the preparation of phony VADIR Reports that grossly understate the level of "Violence and Disruptive Incidents" reported to the New York State Education Department. Danielle has been awarded with massive pay increases, large amount of overtime pay and stipends coaching sports all while working a supposedly "24/7" salaried position during which he is supposedly on-call at all times.

Every source in these matters involving the three security guards has stated that they believe Danielle is fully aware of the allegations.

Again, these are allegations and they are not sufficiently documented or sourced that I am comfortable at this point in publishing names but as of now the New Rochelle Board of Education and the New Rochelle Police Department have the names that were provided to me. I would not otherwise have brought them forward except that it was made a public issue by Naomi Brickell during a televised debate. That said, I believe that there are many district employees who are aware of some or all of these allegations. The solution, so far, has been to move the alleged offenders to different school buildings as was done with Jose Martinez.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

RossEllis on Fri, 09/02/2011 - 18:56

I have been a child advocate and fighting against child abuse for over 20 years. And every time I read a story like this, I cringe knowing that there are despicable adults who take advantage of our weakest ones.

Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and child sexual abuse in schools throughout our nation has become an alarmingly frequent occurrence. The cases that are surfacing almost daily serve as a wake-up call to everyone in America to protect our children!

Child sexual abuse in our schools is happening all over the country. Although the vast majority of educators and other school employees are not child abusers, the stories continue to unfold throughout our nation.

Any sexual contact between a teacher or school employee and a student is a crime. Sexual abuse is a child becoming a sexual partner for an adult. Anyone under the age of 18 who is used by an adult for sexual gratification is being Sexually Abused whether or not the child consents.

Children are taught to respect and honor parental authority figures such as teachers, guidance counselors, and principals and not to question their actions. We trust our schools to protect our most vulnerable … yet children are being sexually molested by the very people who are supposed to protect them. Most abusers remain undetected and free to continue their abuse of power and violation of professional ethics.

To believe it can't happen to us and our children - that no one we know would ever abuse our kids, and certainly not someone entrusted with their care or well-being --- is to live in denial. Sexual abusers tend to choose occupations that put them in close contact with children. They can be found in every profession. They are heterosexual and homosexual -- they don't discriminate.

What can we do?

Covering up abuse in schools sends a message to the abuser that it is acceptable behavior. We must report the abuser and get help for the children. School boards must send a message that they care and accept zero tolerance.

We must insist for and demand:

• Laws that mandate fingerprinting teachers and other school employees and conduct FBI checks on their criminal history

• Educate about child abuse prevention education beginning at the school board level … establishing strong, clear policies that warn teachers and other school employees of inappropriate conduct, such as putting themselves in vulnerable positions where they are alone with students.

• Hold mandatory child abuse prevention training and educational seminars for all staff including teachers, bus drivers, cooks, etc. on a monthly basis. Training sessions can help educators understand their district's policy, the warning signs of possible sexual abuse, and the procedures for reporting abuse when they see it.

• School leaders must make it clear to all staff that the district is serious about investigating any hint of child sexual abuse.

• District policies must stress all employees are mandated to report any suspicion of sexual misconduct and make clear that they will be disciplined if they fail to do so

• Stricter reference and background checks. Meticulous screening of new hires. School administrators must do criminal background checks on applicants and call their former employers and associates, including some who may not be listed on their resumes. Be leery of gaps and frequent changes in an applicant's job history.

• Remove the accused teacher or other school employee from contact with children, usually with a suspension, during the investigation.

• Immediately notify police or community social service authorities.

• Train students about inappropriate behavior by adults and where to report it if they ever see it occur.

• Organize a team of supervised peer counselors where students have a place to go.

Ellis said "We must write to our legislators and demand Zero Tolerance."

Contact your politicians and ask for stronger laws that protect our children and for a stronger statute on mandated reporting of child abuse. All responsible citizens with knowledge of child abuse, which is a crime, should be required to report it, even if it's only suspected. Write letters, e-mail, make phone calls … take action.

It's time for America to wake-up! Knowledge is power. Learn all you can about child abuse. Educate yourself, your children, your family, your friends, neighbors --- everyone you know. We must keep our children safe!

Ross Ellis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Love Our Children USA
www.loveourchildrenusa.org

John Imburgia on Thu, 09/01/2011 - 22:57

Bob,

Good job! I think it is always good to get involved and "do something" to correct problems rather than letting them be swept under rug. This website goes a long way towards helping people get to the truth.

Warren Gross on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 20:33

very sad and very preventable. hope it has more transparency and clarity than the superintendent's and other senior salary and benefits pay. still unclear to me and probably others.

but tonight all signs indicate a proposed funding windfall for the states to rehire school staff, etc. I don't take issue except history has taught us that our district's over-reliance on federal and state funding has not produced positive effects in terms of student achievement and certainly doesn't seem to have had impact on collateral, but highly important and tragic instances such as reported in this blog.

one can only hope for strict accountability measures if more funds are forthcoming but without vesting oversight in more than an unskilled board meaning the city administration, it is likely to end up as it has for the past twenty or so years. Lets see if any conditions are placed on the release of any additional federal funds to the state providing, of course, that the proposed jobs bill is approved by the legislature.

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