A New York City schoolteacher arrested and later acquitted on charges she drugged and raped one of her 12-year-old students over the course of two years says she should never have been fired and is now demanding her job back.
Claudia Tillery, 45, spent her 15-year career at the Stephen Decatur Middle School in Brooklyn before her ouster in 2011, and has now filed suit, seeking reinstatement.
According to the New York Daily News, Tillery argues she was acquitted of all criminal charges in April 2014, and the Department of Education’s hearing officer improperly used sealed evidence, DNA tests and the prosecutor’s testimony to toss her from the teaching post she held since 1996.
But DOE hearing officer Haydee Rosario says Tillery’s acquittal does not excuse the teacher for “conduct unbecoming” her position, noting the evidence proves Tillery allowed the boy into her home without the permission of his parents or school administrators, took him to the Atlantic Motor Inn multiple times and gave him $500 cash.
Read the WND story that started it all! The big list: Female teachers with students
The New York Post reported Rosario concluded in April that a “preponderance of the credible record evidence” proves Tillery raped the youngster, then painted him as a “master manipulator” to escape a criminal conviction.
The DOE officer noted a DNA test revealed vaginal fluids and the student’s and teacher’s saliva were both on the teacher’s comforter cover. Tillery suggested the boy had come in contact with the comforter when it was sitting in her laundry room’s hamper.
According to the Post, Rosario also said the student recorded a video showing his teacher putting her pants on in a motel room. Tillery and her young charge exchanged 8,000 text messages over two years using pseudonyms. In one message the teacher texted, “What’s up babe?”
“This is not a ‘he said, she said’ case where my determination hinges on my credibility findings,” Rosario wrote.
“In this case, the record is replete with evidence, including the DNA analysis report that corroborates the credible account given by Student A.”
Rosario called the student’s testimony “candid, detailed, consistent and coherent” and is corroborated by other evidence.
She rejected Tillery’s defense the boy was manipulative and made her interact with him more extensively than she should have.
“Her defense of ‘he made me do it’ reasoning, that Student A, a minor entrusted to her care, caused all of her misery that she endured during her criminal trial and during this disciplinary proceeding, serves to demonstrate why termination of her employment is the only appropriate penalty in this case,” Rosario said.