(by Susan Edelman and Melissa Klein, NY Post) -- More than 100 city teachers, administrators and other school staffers have been caught in the last five years engaging in sexual or “inappropriate” relationships with students, The Post has learned.
The special commissioner of investigation for city schools, Richard Condon, has fielded 593 complaints about such illicit relationships since April 2009. His office substantiated 104 cases, it revealed Friday.
“I’m absolutely stunned at that number,” said Laura Timoney, a Community Education Council member whose 15-year-old daughter attends a city high school on Staten Island. “It’s shocking, but what do you do to stop this?”
Social media and smartphones have fueled the epidemic of hookups, experts say, with teachers and students easily able to flirt under the radar of parents and colleagues.
“If a kid texts a teacher at 9 or 10 p.m. asking about homework, the reply goes straight to the child’s bedroom,” said Frederick Lane, a Brooklyn attorney and author of the book “Cybertraps for the Young.”
“These one-on-one conversations can turn personal, creating a quicker sense of intimacy,” Lane said. “The electronics make it easier for a predator to gain the trust of a child and then exploit that trust.”
The student-staff hanky-panky constitutes only a fraction of all sexual-misconduct complaints, which include groping, molestation and assault. In 2013 alone, Condon’s office received 566 complaints against Department of Education employees with a “sexual component.” It opened 233 investigations and substantiated 24 percent, or 58, Condon reports.