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Mar 5, 2013 11:05 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Police Investigate Alleged Teacher Misconduct

Mar 6, 2013 12:06 PM

The Westhampton Beach School District has requested a police investigation into alleged misconduct committed by one of the district’s middle school teachers, officials confirmed at a Board of Education meeting on Monday night.

Although details about the alleged incident remain sketchy, the investigation appears to focus on a male teacher at the middle school—whom administrators declined to identify—who was in the girls locker room at some point late last month, according to Westhampton Beach Police Detective Ed Hamor.

“It is a suspicious incident that is under investigation at this time,” Det. Hamor said on Tuesday. “There are still numerous people to be interviewed, both administrators and students, and we are still trying to figure out what may or may not have happened.”

Neither Det. Hamor nor school district officials would release more information about the nature of the incident.

The incident was reported to authorities by Schools Superintendent Michael Radday on the afternoon of February 26, according to Westhampton Beach Police Lieutenant Trevor Gonce. He said he does not know if the incident occurred on that day or earlier.

The incident was made public after a parent, who only identified himself as Frank, asked Westhampton Beach Schools Superintendent Michael Radday and Board of Education members during Monday’s meeting how a male teacher was allowed access to the girls locker room at the middle school.

“How is the district addressing that a male teacher can ever get into the female locker room?” the man asked. He later added: “How is it that a teacher is in the locker room with girls? How is that acceptable?”

Neither Mr. Radday or Board of Education members answered the parent’s questions on Monday night, and Mr. Radday said he would not confirm any details of the investigation, citing legal concerns.

When reached afterward, Mr. Radday said he could not confirm or deny if the teacher in question somehow interacted with female students in the girls locker room.

“There were some allegations brought to the district’s attention,” Mr. Radday said during Monday’s meeting. “I can tell you that as soon as those allegations were brought forward, the district initiated an investigation.

“I would like to assure the community that we take all allegations very seriously and the safety of our students is our top priority,” he continued.

Mr. Radday did note that the teacher in question has been temporarily reassigned to the administration office pending the results of the police investigation. After the investigation is finished, the district will make a decision on how to proceed, according to the superintendent.

Det. Hamor said that the investigation is still in its early stages, and that he could not say how long it would take to complete.

“This is a relatively recent event and we are trying to investigate it,” said School Board member Jim Hulme on Monday night. “We don’t have anything to report today.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Hulme wrote in an email that he could not comment on the 
ongoing investigation.

Board President Suzanne Mensch and Vice President Halsey Stevens did not return emails seeking comment this week. Neither did board members Dr. G. Gregory Frost, Bryan Dean, George Kast Jr., or Gordon Werner.

On Monday night, the same man who addressed the board said he and other concerned parents want to know what the district is doing to ensure the safety of their children. He also asked if the administration is considering any policy changes in light of the incident.

Mr. Radday said the safety of students is the district’s top priority and any policy changes needed will be addressed after the investigation. He added that when appropriate, the district will share whatever information it can with parents.

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It's a shame that us middle school parents needed to hear this story from our children, and the press, but never anything from the school itself. Another reason to be highly disappointed in the WHB School district.
By Eliza (29), Westhampton Beach on Mar 5, 13 11:24 AM
4 members liked this comment
Adding to problems of finding out via the students and the rumors- this teach is a sports coach and alumni of the district- will they - the old timers- be protecting him? How about letting WHB Police handling case- same concern. What experience do they have with these alledged incidents? Can Suffolk or Southampton sex crime units be brought in to assist? This is a serious allegation that could ruin a persons career and reputation. Professional experience in these cases is essential. Also what is ...more
By Tellitlikeitis (2), westhampton on Mar 5, 13 5:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
The district handled this allegation as well as possible. Unfortunately there are many allegations that end up to be baseless and there is no ramifications for the accusers...for the person accused...they are never fully aquited once the rumor mill starts. Multiply that exponentially when you are looking at middle school girls with texting capabilities. I am sorry to hear the naysayers say such inflamatory things. Please let the authorities work things out and try to act like adults...not tweens...and ...more
By tee2sea (16), Remsenburg on Mar 5, 13 5:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
"No ramifications for the accusers"? "baseless"? I give a lot of credit for the young girls who had the GUTS to report something they saw. You got some nerve tee2sea
By Tellitlikeitis (2), westhampton on Mar 5, 13 6:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
You give alot of credit to a young girl? Are you serious? I understand there have been cases of teachers doing the wrong thing, but that is a very very low percentage. I quite frankly believe a teacher until someone can prove their accusations, Especially when the teacher is well regarded, and has a great reputation. I think it is ridiculous that the school would even release any information of this case. If this teacher is found innocent he should be compensated by the kids family and school district ...more
By chief1 (2786), southampton on Mar 5, 13 7:48 PM
I'll give another example, when my duaghter was a senior one of the girls was dating a 26 year old man. EVERYONE KNEW EXPECT
HER PARENTS. Then when they found out it becomes date rape.
As a mother of 3 boys and 1 girl. Stuff like this scares me.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Mar 11, 13 11:14 AM
Accusations are far from convictions. It would be appalling to hear this story end similarly to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird, which is commonly taught to students for its moral implications. Perhaps the message was not fully internalized by the modern American, who will search to win an argument and point fingers rather than seek the truth. I hope that the truth comes out; however even if innocent, this teacher's reputation will be forever scarred.
By Burg2145 (1), Westhampton on Mar 5, 13 7:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have to chime in here. Please do not rush to judgment on this one. Let all the facts come out first. I can't think any teacher that deserves the benefit of the doubt, more than this one. Again, please don't jump to conclusions, the truth will come out in short order, I'm sure.
By Danm (4), East Moriches on Mar 6, 13 6:20 AM
Hey chef1 not only is it bad on his rep. but also alot of kids look up to him and always that he was a great guy and now by doing this is it not only wrong but also he's teaching the kids something that should never be learned. You think its bad on his rep. well what about all the girls who never knew these where being taken of them they thought the where safe a protected and they thought they had privacy and when they found out about this they felt violated of there privacy and of the body who ...more
By FlowerGirl (2), Westhampton Beach, New York on Mar 7, 13 12:29 PM
2 members liked this comment
It also appears to me Chief1 is trying to intimidate the girls by his prior statements into not reporting what they thought was inappropriate behavior by this teacher. You go girls and stand tough. Dont let guys like this bully you into not speaking the truth and reporting what you witnessed.
By realistic (468), westhampton on Mar 7, 13 3:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
I never said don't report an incident of inappropiate behavior. What I said is I will give the benefit of the doubt to the teacher until the person is convicted. I think it is pretty serious to accuse a teacher of anything and then to tar and feather him on this site. I remember when I was a student, and kids would make rumors of teachers all the time. It's not right! By the way Flower Girl what is the language you are writing?
By chief1 (2786), southampton on Mar 8, 13 2:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
'let alone there teacher *seeing*'
By FlowerGirl (2), Westhampton Beach, New York on Mar 7, 13 12:31 PM
Hey, shrlz, don't convict the guy before the facts are in.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Mar 7, 13 12:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
And perhaps demand a refund on taxes paid for your education, shrls.
Did you sleep throughout your english classes?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 7, 13 4:43 PM
I agree he is a wonderful coach and person just read the article it sounds like they are even saying it does not make sense . Its easy for people to talk but this is a young man life.
By JaneneGarafola (1), East Moriches, New York on Mar 15, 13 4:09 PM
you know, there's a proper way and protocol to investigate these accusations. jwouldn't it be shame if the accusations were found to be false and here in the 27east comment threads he charged, covicted and hanged before he can be brought to a real court of law. This story didn't have to be published until all the facts were substantiated and an actual charge and arrest made. For the record, I don't know who the teacher is.
By Jaws (244), Amity Island on Mar 8, 13 2:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
just a thought...i would think that the teacher would know what risk were involved for being in the girls locker room. The risk of being seen and the risk of being caught. Was the accuser a disgruntled student of this teacher and got a failing grade from him?
By Jaws (244), Amity Island on Mar 9, 13 1:43 AM
The lengths that the district went to cover this up are staggering, starting with the middle school principal who over the years has proven to be nothing of an administrator but more of a strong armed bully. If the district needs to make cuts for budget and financial purposes, that's the first office that should be vacated.
By Eliza (29), Westhampton Beach on Mar 9, 13 8:01 AM
Um, WHAT "cover up," Ma'am?

What has been so "staggering" that I've missed it completely?

Am I sensing some bias here on your part?
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Mar 12, 13 6:41 PM
Even if he had a legit reason for being there he should be fired for being stupid!
By patrick61 (18), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 13 4:17 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By jttf3318 (2), East Quogue on Mar 11, 13 8:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well put . I know this teacher and
I am outraged how he is being condemned by the public before any evidence . How sad that his reputation is being destroyed, The public should wait until the investigation is over and they will see that he is innocent of any wrong doi ng.. What ever happen to innocent until proven guilty. Shame on anyone who writes such negative comments when the facts are not in. I can only pray the police investigation will end soon so he can find peace when he is found ...more
By mother of three (2), Mount Sinai on Mar 12, 13 6:33 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By mother of three (2), Mount Sinai on Mar 12, 13 6:35 PM
There is a remarkable double standard at work here.

I am heartened to see that so many people are fully aware that an accusation is nothing until it has been supported by evidence that has been subject to full scrutiny.

At the same time, every day ordinary citizens are accused, arrested, even jailed on accusations that have yet to be subjected to the scrutiny that many are demanding here for this school teacher.

Is there a reason for the kid glove treatment?

Secrecy ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Mar 12, 13 9:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
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