Spring Gardens teacher’s aide cleared of molestation charges

Cambria Heights teacher Tara Driscoll (l.) was ordered to surrender her teacher's license after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor sex charge in Nassau County. A Queens grand jury acquitted Brett Picou (r.) on charges of inappropriately touching students in Springfield Gardens. Photo (l.) courtesy Nassau County Police Department
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A teacher’s aide was cleared of charges Monday that he had inappropriately touched several students at the Springfield Gardens elementary school where he worked, although his future in the classroom remains unclear as the city Department of Education conducts its investigation.

Brett Picou, 30, was charged earlier this year with groping a number of female students between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15 at PS 52, at 178-37 146th Terrace.

The Queens district attorney’s office announced Monday that a grand jury had failed to indict Picou on the charges.

Picou started working at the school as a substitute teacher in 2008 and was hired full time in January 2010. A spokeswoman for the DOE said Picou was suspended at the time of his arrest and that he remains off the payroll until the department completes its investigation.

“The matter is under review by DOE and he remains suspended without pay,” said spokeswoman Margie Feinberg.

At the time of Picou’s arrest, DA Richard Brown said school personnel overheard students talking about the alleged inappropriate touching and then notified police. Brown’s office did not offer further comment as to why the grand jury decided not to indict Picou.

In another Queens case, an English teacher at the Campus Magnet High School complex in Cambria Heights was ordered to surrender her teacher’s license last week when she was sentenced in Nassau County for having an inappropriate relationship with a student at her school, officials said.

Tara Driscoll, 34, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old male student who attended Campus Magnet, the Nassau district attorney’s office said.

According to the criminal charges against Driscoll, on March 19 she performed oral sex on the student at the Capri Lynbrook Motor Inn, about a 15-minute drive from Cambria Heights.

Judge William O’Brien sentenced her Friday to a five-year order of protection against her victim and a six-year probation.

Driscoll was ordered to surrender her teacher’s license and will have to register as a Level 1 sex offender, the DA’s office said.

Driscoll taught English at the high school complex since 2006. She was suspended in October and continues to be suspended without pay, Feinberg said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 7:25 pm, June 20, 2012
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