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Teen recants rape charge against art teacher

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A 12-year-old Rego Park junior high school special education student recanted claims against her art teacher after alleging he raped her several times during a three-month period beginning in December, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Tuesday.

"Based among other things upon the alleged victim's recantation of her claim that she had been sexually assaulted by a teacher at JHS 157 in Rego Park, I have declined prosecution of the teacher and have directed that he be released from custody," Brown said.

But the district attorney said Tuesday afternoon his office would continue to investigate the situation.

The student had said her teacher, identified as Chatindra Jawahir, 37, of 126-13 Linden Blvd. in Ozone Park, raped her several times between December and Feb. 13, police said. Cops arrested Jawahir late Monday night after the parents of the 12-year-old student told police he had raped her.

Police had charged the teacher with rape, sodomy and endangering the welfare of a child. He has been an art teacher for one year at JHS 157 at 64-00 102nd St.

Police said the girl had recently informed her parents of the alleged abuse and they then contacted authorities.

The arrest by the Queens Special Victims Squad followed an investigation into the student's allegations, police said.

Prior to Jawahir's release Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman for the city Department of Education said disciplinary action against him had already been suggested. Jawahir started working at JHS 157, which is in District 28 and offers classes for sixth-graders through ninth graders, in September.

On the same day as Jawahir's arrest Monday, police reported 16-year-old Kendric Lee allegedly forced an unidentified 16-year-old girl into the boys' bathroom at JHS 157 and sexually assaulted her. Cops said the unidentified victim later told police about the alleged rape.

Lee, of 148-44 89th Ave. in Jamaica, has been charged with sexual abuse.

JHS 157 has 1,494 students with 250, or 17 percent, of those classified as special education students, according to the city Department of Education Web site, As of its last report card covering the 2000-01 academic calendar, there had only been 0.6 police-related incidents per 1,000 students at the school.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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