BAY SHORE, Long Island - Police in Suffolk County arrested a high school teacher for allegedly raping a teenage student from Bay Shore High School.
Authorities say 27-year-old Marcus Johnson was arrested on Thursday, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with the 15-year-old. Officials report the abuse started when the victim was 14 years old.
"I know it's been happening a lot all over the place," parent Dennis Gardland said. "You see it in the news and hope it never happens in your community, but it's just a shame."
Johnson worked as a teacher's assistant for children with autism. The victim was not one of his students.
"It's kind of messed up, because the girl probably just got lured in," parent Anthony Martinez said. "And it was just awkward."
Johnson was charged with second- and third-degree rape and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
He pleaded not guilty, and bail was set at $40,000 cash. He was ordered not to communicate with the victim.
Parents say the arrest means it's time for some difficult conversations at home.
"I also have a younger daughter at home, so there is going to be a serious discussion tonight," one parent said. "To let her know what happened and have her keep us abreast of any situation."
Police now are looking to find out more about Johnson's background. His Facebook page says he started working at the school, with another post referring to "getting high."
Parents, meanwhile, want to know more about who is working with their young children.
The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information to contact the Special Victims Section at 631-852-6531.