🔴 Parents of a 13-year-old say she was assaulted by a teacher in the hallway

🔴 Marlboro police are investigating

🔴 The family says the district failed to protect their daughter


UPDATE: Cops charge Marlboro teacher

MARLBORO — An angry mother and father on Tuesday publicly accused a Marlboro middle school teacher of sexually assaulting their daughter in a school hallway.

But that's not the only disturbing charge.

The family and their attorney say that despite the March 13 molestation being witnessed by another school employee who reported it to school officials moments later, and the incident being caught on security camera, administrators did not immediately inform authorities or remove the teacher from the school.

Nor did they call the parents until hours later — after the child had been allowed to return to the teacher's classroom and the child had been sent home on the bus.

On top of that, the family said it was forced to air the incident — which school officials have not denied and acknowledged was "inappropriate" — at a public meeting because the school district's attorney essentially blamed the parents for allowing the teacher to have contact with their children as a tutor.

The parents, who identified themselves before they spoke during the Board of Education meeting's public comment portion, named the teacher who they say sexually abused their daughter in a hallway of the Marlboro Memorial Middle School on March 13.

The teacher no longer works at the school and has submitted her resignation. But while the district says it took immediate action to remove the teacher, the family says the teacher was allowed to finish the school day and return the next day.

The teacher's classroom, meanwhile, continued to display the teacher's family photos as the young student sat in class. A photo of the teacher also remained in the hallway as of Tuesday night.

Authorities have not announced any criminal charges but police Capt. Stephen J. Levy told New Jersey 101.5 that the incident was reported by school administrators on March 13 and is under investigation. Because no charges have been filed, New Jersey 101.5 is not naming the teacher. We also are not identifying the parents in order to protect the privacy of a minor who may have been a victim of a crime.

"You as a board elected by the community failed my daughter," the mother said Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting at the middle school. "You failed to establish mechanisms to prevent abuse, to prevent the atrocity that happened down that hallway to my 13-year-old daughter. You let this predator in our school. No denying. She's on video."

The mother said her daughter, who receives special-needs education, had to return to the teacher's classroom, where she was "tormented."

"My daughter will never be the same," she said.

The mother said the teacher had been in communication with her daughter via "sexualized" text messages, which were discovered after the March 13 incident. The family's attorney, Nima Ameri, Esq., described the conversations about sleepovers and sexual matters as "grooming."

 

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Marlboro school district
Marlboro school district (Canva)
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Parents say letter from lawyer blamed them

The mother said a letter from district attorney Marc Zitomer suggested that the parents were at fault.

In the letter, which the family's lawyer provided to New Jersey 101.5 on Wednesday, Zitomer defended the district and called the family's conduct "disturbing."

"In fact, if anybody should have been aware of this teacher’s proclivities it was Jane Doe’s parents who saw fit to have her tutor their child in their home for a year or more," Zittomer's April 12 letter says.

"I also understand that the teacher recently helped Jane Doe try on dresses for a school dance at the home with her mother. The teacher used this as justification for improperly touching the girl claiming she previously touched the child’s breasts while helping her trying on dresses. Also concerning is the fact that the child’s parents waited for over a week to file a complaint with the local police department regarding the incident in question."

The family's attorney disputes that the family allowed the teacher to fit the girl for clothes and added that the district should not have allowed teachers to provide tutoring at home. Ameri said the family was in touch with authorities immediately.

Zitomer on Tuesday night apologized and said his letter was not intended to blame the teen's parents.

"There was no prior issue with this staff member that would have given the district any indication whatsoever that she would have conducted herself inappropriately and unprofessionally and as abusively as she did," he said at the meeting, in which the school board voted to have him removed as counsel. "When the district learned of the matter we took action. We reported it to law enforcement."

He said the district also submitted a "detailed" filing about the conduct to the State Board of Examiners, which regulates teacher credentials.

Superintendent responds

In a letter to the school community on Wednesday, schools Superintendent Michael Ballone acknowledged "an incident involving inappropriate physical contact perpetrated by a teaching staff member against a student at Marlboro Memorial Middle School."

"At this time, we have no indication that similar incidents have occurred elsewhere within the district," his letter says. "We believe this to be an isolated incident, but we are taking all necessary precautions to safeguard all students."

Ballone said the staff member "was immediately removed from her position" after officials became aware, although he did not provide a detailed timeline.

The family described the superintendent's letter as "factually inaccurate and only done to create a false public relations narrative."

On Wednesday, the girl’s mother told New Jersey 101.5 that she received a call from the vice principal after the school day had ended, informing her that her daughter had been fondled and groped that day. The teacher also showed up to her home to claim that the incident had been a misunderstanding.

The family says the district did not provide their daughter counseling.

“During the time, my daughter had to go back to the classroom while they were trying to figure out what to do, pulling the video and speaking with the teacher,” the mother said about the events on March 13. “Nobody at any point went, ‘Oh my God, where is that little girl right now?’ It was, ‘How do we cover our tracks?”

New Jersey 101.5 did not know Wednesday whether the former teacher had an attorney who could speak on her behalf. On her LinkedIn page, which was no longer publicly available on Wednesday afternoon, she said she was "open to work" and looking to "pivot" to a new career.

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