New York City DoE employee accused of sex with child

Stacey Sager reports from Kew Gardens.
March 20, 2014 4:14:43 PM PDT
A New York City Department of Education employee is behind bars, accused of raping a child.

The staff at P.S. 9, The Walter Reed School in Maspeth, is doing their best to protect their special needs students at dismissal. But at least one of the students may not have been so safe.

According to police, the 14-year-old boy told his speech therapist about his "girlfriend" who was a teaching assistant, 39-year-old Clara Somodi.

Somodi allegedly had sex with the boy numerous times off of school grounds.

Although one neighbor at her Maspeth apartment building just couldn't believe it.

"She's a nice lady. I would be really shocked if what they're saying about her is true," said Michael Birardi, the defendant's neighbor.

A grandfather of another 14-year-old student at the school is not so surprised, but certainly upset.

"That's despicable. I mean, what can I say? I mean, it happens in the school system, hopefully they take care of the situation," said Richard Parham, a P.S. 9 grandfather.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said, "We immediately suspended her when we found out about the arrest. If the allegation is true, it would be extremely disturbing."

The student meanwhile is being provided counseling, as Clara Somodi awaits her arraignment at criminal court.

"You're pretty stunned to hear it," Eyewitness News said.

"Yeah, yeah, I am stunned," Birardi said.

In addition to rape, she is also charged with a criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child.

Somodi was immediately suspended without pay. She has worked at he Walter Reed School for 10 years.