Teacher's aide accused of sex abuse

56-year-old Gregory Atkins is charged with attempted criminal sex act and sexual abuse of a student while working as a teacher's aide. (my space)

February 10, 2012 7:38:56 PM PST
A teacher's aide is accused of sexually abusing a student at PS 87 on the Upper West Side.

"Obviously that's a disturbing allegation," a parent said.

Parents are reacting after gathering up their children and hearing of the arrest of a teacher's aide at PS 87.

Others were reading a letter from the principal that said in part, "that Gregory Atkins a paraprofessional, may have sexually abused a student at our school."

"It's really frightening, and we have to determine what the circumstances were, did it happen in the school, outside of school, what the relations were? It's very scary though, very scary," said Tracy McClaire, a parent.

The 56-year-old Atkins, who is charged with attempted criminal sex act and sexual abuse has been at the school since 2008 according to education officials.

He came into the system, they add, in 2001 as a substitute teacher.

"He's like to himself. He's always been nice and friendly," a neighbor said.

Neighbors are surprised to hear of his arrest.

They say he lived alone and would see him walking his two dogs.

"It's kind of shocking to hear that. The way things are going in the news with all of these people abusing kids, this is a terrible thing," said Michael Candelario, a neighbor.

This arrest comes just five days after parents at the Weeksville School in Brooklyn hear that 40-year-old Taleek Brooks, a teacher's aide, was charged with making videos of himself sexually exploiting children.

The FBI uncovered the videos from Brooks' home computer.

"This is crazy," a parent said.

Back at PS 87, parents are also being told that some, in the coming days, may be contacted by the NYPD or district attorney's office "As they seek to determine if there are other children who may have been involved or been witnesses."

"I will be paying attention and seeing what develops, and certainly talking with my daughter," said Paula Chin, a parent.

For now, Atkins is working at the central office away from students while the matter is investigated.

The school will hold a special meeting Monday morning at 8:30 to discuss the arrest with parents.

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