Stamford teacher, girls basketball coach accused of inappropriately touching 12 students

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Stamford teacher accused of sexually assaulting 12 girls
Sonia Rincon has a report on a Stamford, Connecticut teacher being accused of sexual assault.

STAMFORD, Connecticut (WABC) -- A teacher in Stamford, Connecticut, was arrested after 12 female students reported they were inappropriately touched by him.

Police were notified by the Department of Children and Family Services in late February that the students at Strawberry Hill Elementary School said they were inappropriately touched by a teacher.

Andrew Park, 33, is accused of grabbing the backsides of 11 to 13-year-old girls who trusted him.

Park was arrested and charged on Friday with 12 counts of sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and illegal sexual contact with a victim under the age of 16.

A prosecutor in court Monday said the girls were so creeped out and uncomfortable that they would take the long way around school to avoid him, and even wear their backpacks down low so he'd keep his hands off them.

Prosecutors say Park, a teacher and girls basketball coach, would ask the middle school-age girls for hugs, sometimes saying they could have candy if they gave him a hug... then he'd allegedly slide his hands down their backs and grab their backsides.

The young victims had to undergo a delicate interview process. Stamford Police Lieutenant Jerry Junes, who deals with sensitive cases involving young victims, says that's never easy.

"And it's frightening and a lot of the young kids who deal with it are often fearful for their safety, fearful of the unknown and what the outcome of this is going to look like for them," Junes said.

Park, who taught at the school for six years, is married and has a 1-year-old child. He was ordered to have no contact with minors except for his own child.

HIs family members posted the required portion of his $175,000 bond.

Park's attorney says he plans to plead not guilty.

If convicted, he will likely face prison time, go on a sex offender registry and never be allowed to teach again.

Stamford Public Schools released a statement saying they will continue to cooperate with the investigation and Park was placed on administrative leave immediately after they were informed of the allegations.

"The allegations describe behaviors that are appalling and contrary to what we as a school community expect from someone entrusted to work with our students," Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero said in a letter to parents and staff. "There is nothing more important than the safety of our students, and it crushes me to think that anyone working in our district could be accused of such behavior."


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