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Less than a month after city officials announced legislation requiring public school officials to immediately inform police of suspected crimes involving students at least four separate incidents of apparent sex abuse in Queens schools were reported last week.
The incidents, which took place in schools in Flushing, South Jamaica, Long Island City and East Elmhurst, either were reported or took place during a three-day stretch the week of June 4 and involved reports of sex abuse of female students by male students, police said.
Police Department spokeswoman Carmen Melendez said last week the term sex abuse includes any time a child is handled inappropriately.
Melendez also said cases of sex abuse can be different than incidents of sexual assault, which can include rape.
Last month Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proposed a bill to require public school officials and staff to immediately report suspected crimes involving the health and safety of a child to the New York Police Department and the principal.
On May 22, the same day as Giulianis announcement, Schools Chancellor Harold Levy released a report after an internal Board of Education review of 129 sex abuse cases in city schools.
The importance of the health and safety of the children entrusted to our care dictates that we use every available means at our disposal thoroughly to investigate all allegations, particularly those of a sexual nature, Levy said in a statement.
Giuliani said there have been numerous criminal incidents when school personnel failed to notify the Police Department [of a crime], letting dangerous criminals go unpunished and placing other children at risk.
Each of the incidents reported last week, however, involved cases of students allegedly harming other students and information about the nature of each occurrence has been vague.
At Flushings JHS 185, at 147-26 25th Dr., a 13-year-old boy was arrested and charged with sex abuse for allegedly pushing and grabbing a girl, 13, while she was walking down a school staircase at dismissal time, police said. Authorities said the incident occurred on the afternoon of June 4 but was not reported to police until the next morning.
At PS 123 in South Jamaica, at 145-01 119th Ave., police reported two separate incidents of sex abuse that allegedly happened within an hour of each other on June 6.
In one case, police said, an 8-year-old girl was abused by an 11-year-old boy and in another, a boy, 7, sexually abused two 7-year-old girls. The two boys accused in the incidents were arrested and charged with sex abuse, police said, but no other information was given regarding the nature of the alleged crime.
Three boys were arrested and charged with sex abuse at Long Island Citys IS 126 for allegedly sexually attacking two girls during class on June 4, police said.
And in East Elmhurst, a pair of 13-year-old boys was arrested and charged with sex abuse at PS 227 when a girl, 12, reported to school officials on June 6 that she had been fondled on two separate occasions, police said.
The incidents supposedly took place between May 1 and May 25 at the school at 32-02 Junction Blvd., police said.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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