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Richmond Hill High teacher arrested on rape charge

A Richmond Hill High School teacher was arrested last Thursday on charges of having sex with a 15-year-old and his two cousins, a spokeswoman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

The teacher, 22-year-old Janmattie Singh, allegedly called one of the 18-year-old victims back in January for sex, the DA's spokeswoman said.

The 18-year-old, a former student at Richmond Hill High School, said he could not go to Singh's house in Richmond Hill because he was with his 15- and 18-year-old cousins in Brooklyn, the spokeswoman said.

But Singh allegedly said "she didn't care, that she'd have sex with them as well," the spokeswoman said. The teacher allegedly had sex with all three boys, who were not publicly identified because of the nature of the charges and their ages, according to Hynes' office.

Singh was charged with sexual misconduct, rape and endangering the welfare of a child, the spokeswoman said. She faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the charges.

An investigation into the case was launched in early February after one of the victims alerted the principal of Richmond Hill High School, the spokeswoman said. The principal in turn notified Richard Condon, the city Department of Education commissioner of special investigations.

Singh's attorney, Kumar Paturi, claimed his client was "medically depressed" and was taken advantage of by the three boys.

He said Singh only taught a few months at the school after she had a nervous breakdown in April 2007. She went back to the school in September, but had to take a mental health leave because she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Paturi said.

He said the three teenagers "knew she was mentally out of her mind. They knew she had a nervous breakdown. They pretty much sexually abused her. My client was the victim."

Paturi claimed the boys knew Singh from the neighborhood, not the school, and that none of the teenagers were her students.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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