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Principal accused of keeping child sex abuse quiet to avoid scandal

Principal accused of keeping child sex abuse quiet to avoid scandal

A Montgomery County substitute teacher, Jose Pineda, pleaded guilty to sex offense charges involving two students, triggering allegations about his former boss’ failure to report the abuse, The Washington Post reports

Prosecutors alleged that the Montgomery County Principal in 2004, name not mentioned in court, speaking through a Spanish translator, told the mother of a seventh-grade student not to report a substitute teacher for improper touching because the principal didn’t want to prompt a “scandal” or the school’s reputation.

The former principal denied the allegation and stated that he did not recall the meeting.

In the sex abuse case, Pineda touched a student on her buttocks and the upper portion of her thigh during a math class at Forest Oak Middle School.  

Once arriving home, she told her baby sitter, who called the student’s mother, who came home and brought the upset student back to the school that afternoon.

The mother spoke to a counselor, who immediately set up a meeting with the principal. 

The principal asked that the victim and her mother not contact Child Protective Services or the police. 

Reassuring the mother and victim that it will be taken care of, the former principal told them that the defendant would not teach there again. 

As a result, no report of this crime was made to law enforcement at that time. 

John Burley, the principal at the time, stated in an interview that he did not recall the incident or the meeting with the student and her mother.  He said that he would have never advised anyone not to call police of CPS.

By law, teachers and school administrators are required to report suspected and any incidents of child sexual abuse.  Student safety must always be a school’s highest priority.  

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