Friday, January 27, 2023

Teacher was accused of abusing autistic students at a school in Florida, USA

Pembroke Pines police arrested an exceptional student education aide at West Broward High School on Tuesday for “inappropriately touching” at least two students with mental disabilities.

According to the arrest report, John Harrison Smith, 53, was caught in the act by a campus security monitor.

The report states that on December 13, Smith was in the school’s cardio room with several students when monitors observed students through the window of a door on campus patrol. Police said that after entering the room, the guard saw Smith lying “on top” of a female student.

Smith was being held without bond at Broward Main Jail as of Tuesday afternoon. – Photo: Getty Images

guard told investigators The victim was lying on the floor with her head on her hands, her chin under her chin, while watching the game on her phone on the floor, while Smith lay on her back in front of heraccording to the report.

“Smith’s legs were hitting the victim’s lower back/buttocks,” PPPD Special Victims Unit Detective Jacob Childress wrote in the report. “Her upper body was on her back and her hands were on the floor, supporting herself.”

The report states that when Smith and the security guard made eye contact, he took off from the girl.

As per reports, the security guard informed two security personnel about what had happened, both of whom went to the cardio room to remove the girl.

Police said that upon entering, the guard saw Smith standing against a separate wall, “wearing an exercise machine”.

According to the report, the guard observed a second girl with her buttocks “pressed against the defendant’s front (groin)”.

“The guard observed her slowly moving up and down as she was pressed against the defendant,” Childress wrote. “Seeing the guard, Smith attempted to coax the girl away from him.”

Childress said the girl “went back to being with Smith, which led her to redirect him again and stop his actions”.

Police said both girls, aged 14 and 15, have autism and are developmentally disabled with “limited verbal communication skills”.

“It should be noted that (both girls) reported that Smith touched certain parts of their bodies, including their private areas (vagina, breasts and buttocks, outside of clothing),” Childress wrote.

Police arrested Smith on three counts of sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 16, two counts of lewd conduct by an authority figure, and two counts of lewd conduct.

so far, Smith is being held without bond at Broward Main Jail as of Tuesday afternoon. His final decision is expected in the coming days.

According to Broward County Public Schools, Smith has been a district employee since 2019.

In a message to parents informing them of the arrests, West Broward High School Principal Brad Fatout said the district administration is “cooperating fully” with the police investigation and that Smith should be removed from the school and the students away from the police. was done.

“Providing our students with high-quality learning opportunities in a safe environment is our priority,” Fatout said.

Nation World News Desk
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