Prosecutors have charged two Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) employees with failing to immediately notify authorities of sexual abuse allegations against a former counsellor.
Police say the two had evidence that a former guidance counsellor at Longfellow School had sex with multiple teenagers in her office, but they waited six days to report it to authorities.
A probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday alleges Human Resources Director Lela “Tina” Hester and HR caseworker Shalon Dabney of Longfellow School
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Detectives say they found emails and other evidence that suggested an attempt to cover up the incident.
“They were not going to involve the IPS police so that this individual would not be charged,” Ted Curry, Marion County prosecutor told WTHR in Indianapolis.
The affidavit suggests a vice principal was told not to contact police after the sexual encounters involving the guidance counsellor and one of the students came out.
The school became aware of the relationship after the mother of one of the students found text and Facebook messages shared between a guidance counsellor and her son, including nude photos.
State law requires schools to immediately report abuse or neglect allegations to law enforcement or the Indiana Department of Child Services.
IPS superintendent Lewis Ferebee issued a statement supporting the charges laid against the school employees, saying IPS “will tolerate nothing less than the safest and most secure learning environment possible” for students and employees.
The two employees charged have been suspended with pay.
If found guilty, the two administrators face up to six months in prison and a US $1,000 fine.
The guidance counsellor, who was arrested Feb. 25, remains in jail facing nine counts of child seduction.
Longfellow is an alternative school that provides special programs to troubled middle and high school students for whom expulsion may be the only alternative.
The goal is to assist students in developing skills so they can return to their former schools.