A teacher at a Ridgewood elementary school was arrested at the district offices of School Board 24 Friday on charges he sexually abused a student and harassed two others, including referring to one of them as his wife, police said.
Kenneth Baxt, 55, of Syosset, was charged with second-degree sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a child and harassment in connection with three incidents that allegedly took place at the PS 71 annex at 869 Cypress Ave. in Ridgewood last month, the Queens district attorney said.
Baxt is accused of squeezing an 11-year-old students breast after approaching her from behind at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 28, according to the criminal complaint. On the same day, he also allegedly grabbed an 11-year-old girls wrist hard enough to leave a red mark before asking, Do I scare you? and poked another girl in the armpit while calling her his wife.
He did not return a phone message left on his answering machine Tuesday afternoon.
Baxt was arrested Friday at the district offices at 80-00 Cooper Ave., where he had been reassigned after students reported the incident to the school two days earlier on March 6.
But police said it was not the school but the parents of the alleged victims who ultimately reported the accusations.
The apparent delay defies Schools Chancellor Harold Levys regulation governing school safety and security, which requires schools to immediately report claims of sex abuse to the police.
In all cases of sexual misconduct, the principal shall not gather any information or conduct an investigation of the allegations, the regulation reads. Where the alleged misconduct constitutes a crime, the principal/supervisor must notify the police.
City Board of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said Baxt has been removed from the classroom and the case has been referred to the boards office of special investigations.
The most recent commissioner, Ed Stancik, died Tuesday morning of congestive heart failure.
All allegations will be thoroughly investigated, Feinberg said.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community News Group
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