Five school officials of high rank have been arrested. Florida The authorities have charged a father of the reported attacker with failing to notify an alleged sexual assault on a teenager. Documents from court show that the accused includes the father of the alleged attacker.
According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Daniel Snider was arrested on July 24 along with principal Darren Edgecomb and assistant principal Nereyda Garcia Cayado, as well as choir instructor Scott Houchins, former counselor Priscilla Carty, and principal Darren Edgecomb.
All are considered “mandatory reporters” of child abuse, according to authorities, meaning they are legally required to report the suspected abuse of a minor to law enforcement and to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says that it was months before the authorities received notification from a student who claimed a classmate of 15 years old at Palm Beach Central had sexually assaulted her. Sexually Assaulted She was on a beach in the area.
School officials first learned of the alleged attack in June 2021 when a student gave a handwritten note to her choir teacher, saying a friend had been assaulted in April and that “many anxiety and panic attacks were caused by this leading to self-harm,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Scott Houchins later admitted to investigators that the choir teacher had given the note to a different administrator but couldn’t recall who it was, as per incident reports from sheriffs’ departments filed to support arrest warrant affidavits requested by department investigators.
Sheriff’s officials said the letter was passed on to high school administrators. Authorities said that the girl tried to commit suicide on a Washington, D.C. school trip later in the summer. A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s investigator later told school employees that if the letter’s content “had been properly addressed before the summer,” the girl’s attempted suicide “could have potentially not taken place,” according to the incident reports.
The school officials charged late last month have been reassigned to positions in which they have no contact with students, Palm Beach County School District spokeswoman Angela Cruz Ledford said in a statement
“The allegations involving students occurred off of school property and over a weekend,” Ledford said. “However, no matter when or where any alleged assault against a student occurs, our policy aligns with the law, which requires all personnel to report suspected abuse.”
Digital hasn’t heard from Garcia, who is one of the assistant principals charged with this case. Houchin’s lawyer was asked for comment, but has yet to respond.
Steven Bell, Carter’s lawyer, confirmed to Digital that his client has entered a plea of not guilty. Bell stated that Carter is “presumed innocent” and that he intends to represent her up to the maximum extent of the laws.
John Howe told Digital: “We strongly disagree with many of these characterizations.” Online court records show that Edgecomb has denied guilt.
Snider’s attorney filed a motion on Tuesday to dismiss charges against him. He argued that his client did not have to disclose the accusations against his child because privacy laws protected both Snider and his family. Snider also “has the right not to be forced to betray [his son] by having to make very damaging allegations about his son to the government, even if he doesn’t believe them,” according to the motion.
Snider did not report the accusations because, according to Snider’s motion, he thought his son wasn’t guilty. He was therefore not involved with how the school investigated the alleged event. Principal Edgecomb removed the father from the investigation into the allegations made by the girl, according to the motion.
The motion stated that a student approached Snider in August 2021 and told him his friend was assaulted. Snider then gave the student an application to record what happened. Snider took the form, folded it in half and did not even read it before he handed it over to Edgecomb.
Howe said to Digital, who called him on Wednesday morning for a comment, that any statements made about his client would be “presented in court.”
The arrest warrants state that the victim spoke with several officials at the school during summer 2021, described her assault in interviews and provided written statements to staff.
The affidavits say that principal Edgecomb allegedly said to staffers in a meeting held on Aug. 19, 2020 that the girl had told her parents. Her parents were also supposed to have called law enforcement.
According to an affidavit, he also claimed that he conducted his own investigations and didn’t believe the girl. He had not reported the abuse accusations “because he felt that a sexual assault did not occur, based on his investigation,” the affidavits said. “We weren’t going by hearsay,” he allegedly said at the meeting.
The affidavits stated that the principal changed his mind hours later and reported this case to the Department of Children and Families. Edgecomb also informed the parents of the girl and said they should report the allegation to law enforcement.
On August 20, 2021 the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was notified by the parents of the girl that they learned from the school the previous day their daughter had been a victim of sexual assault. You can also find out more about the following: said.
The sheriff’s report states that investigators found corroborating proof of sexual assault. But the father eventually told a deputy, “he doesn’t want to drag this out into the legal system because it could hinder (his daughter’s) progress.” The department reported that no charges were brought and the case closed in October of 2021.
In the affidavits of arrest warrants, it was claimed that on an undisclosed date, the father again contacted the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, saying he wished to bring charges against the five administrators who had been arrested. He said they were guilty of “criminal negligence in reporting the incident”, as stated in the arrest warrants.
Parents claimed the girl’s parents that she had been traumatized by how officials at school treated her as well as her claims of sexual assault by another student.
Online court records show that the five members of staff are free to go on bail and will appear in court later this month.