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BY DANDAN ZOU AND LAURA ALBANESE
dandan.zou@newsday.com
laura.albanese@newsday.com

The Babylon school district has placed five employees on paid leave following multiple allegations of past teacher sexual misconduct in the weeks since one unnamed employee was placed on paid leave last month due to what school officials called “disturbing allegations.”

Superintendent Linda Rozzi said in an emailed statement to Newsday on Tuesday that four employees were “reassigned” Tuesday morning “based on verbal allegations made public” during a Monday board meeting. Another employee was reassigned Monday after the district received “a tip of another allegation.” Deirdre Gilligan, a spokeswoman for the district, said in an email later in the day that the employees were placed on paid leave.

Rozzi did not name the employees, citing privacy laws. She also didn’t disclose their positions in the district. “

However, it is important to know that the district does not tolerate abuse of any kind, takes all allegations very seriously and is committed to acting upon each and every claim we receive,” she wrote in the statement. “We commend the brave individuals for coming forward and sharing their voices.”

In the past week, multiple women alleged they were victims of teacher sexual misconduct when they were students at Babylon Junior-Senior High School — claims the district is now investigating. Brittany Rohl, who graduated from Babylon High in 2011, was the first woman to come forward. Rohl, 28, said one of her coaches began grooming her at age 16 for a relationship that turned sexual shortly after her 18th birthday and lasted into her college years.

The former coach, who no longer works at the district, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. “

Other teachers having sexual relationships with students was an open secret,” Rohl said in an interview with Newsday. “There needs to be an overhaul. It’s not a few bad apples. It’s the whole system.”

Her account quickly led to more allegations made public on social media and at the board meeting Monday night.

Darcy Orlando Bennet, who graduated from Babylon in 2009, alleged in an interview with Newsday that she was the victim of several inappropriate encounters involving one of her coaches.

In part, Bennet said the coach attempted to kiss her in her own home when she was in ninth grade and would routinely accost students during matches, making them uncomfortable. He often would comment on her body, and at one point initiated unwanted and lewd physical contact with her in the guise of helping her form, she said.

Bennet said she reported him to her guidance counselors when they spoke to her during an investigation over accusations of the coach’s inappropriate behavior. Though the man was then removed as coach, he retained his job as a teacher in the district.

The coach, who has retired, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Bennet, 30, told Newsday on Tuesday she felt she had done all she could and is still suffering the psychological damage. “

We were basically screaming for help, but Babylon didn’t do anything to help us,” she said. “What I want is to not hear any more stories about kids being abused at Babylon High School.”

On Monday, the district hired a former Suffolk County assistant prosecutor, Chris Powers, to investigate the allegations.

Powers said in an interview Tuesday that he will reach out to those who made accusations at the board meeting and review documents, including personnel files and records that reflect prior history. “

We are systematically going over what the allegations are, and we are going to be speaking to the folks that came forward,” he said.

The district’s investigation, however, is not considered adequate by some, who are calling for an independent investigation.

In a letter Tuesday, Kenneth Silverman, a father of two Babylon High School graduates, asked the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office to open an investigation into the district. “

It is ingrained in the culture of this district,” Silverman told Newsday. “Idon’tbelieve the community has trust in the board, in the administrators, in the attorney, Mr. Powers, that they hired. . . . These issues are systemic.”

The investigation the school conducted over the employee placed on leave in October has concluded, but district officials declined to comment further, saying the person has resigned.

Amora Brown, a senior who participated in a walkout in protest Tuesday morning with more than 100 other students, said she and her classmates wanted to take a stand.

“It’s hard to hear these things about these teachers that were accused and then go back to school with them. It’s just not right,” said Brown, 17. “Things need to change.”

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Everyone deserves "DUE PROCESS" it's an allegation, stop convicting on social media. Let it go to court and legal system.

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Not sure what “conviction” you speak of since what was posted was a Newsday article with full attribution.

It’s called the first amendment and news is allowed to be reported in this country.

Easy for you to stand up for someone’s rights but people don’t have a right to Coach young women, that is a privilege and when that privilege is violated in any way those alleged predators need to be removed immediately.

Do you have daughters?

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Originally Posted by LIRef77
Not sure what “conviction” you speak of since what was posted was a Newsday article with full attribution.

It’s called the first amendment and news is allowed to be reported in this country.

Easy for you to stand up for someone’s rights but people don’t have a right to Coach young women, that is a privilege and when that privilege is violated in any way those alleged predators need to be removed immediately.

Do you have daughters?

Wow, as is often the case, your assessment is more than a little skewed. I am not the OP, but I believe the sentiment he/she is trying to convey is that allegations are just that - until proven or disproven in a court of law. It's called presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Regardless of whether some or all of these teachers are innocent or guilty, their names and reputations have already been permanently tarnished by the mere fact that the allegations have been made. May surprise you, but not everyone accused of a crime is guilty of committing said crime.

Whether or not someone has daughters is completely irrelevant, and suggesting that someone should view the facts of these cases differently because that person has a female child(ren) just proves the point that the OP was making.

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Love how people defend pedophiles disgusting no way they have kids

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Love how people defend pedophiles disgusting no way they have kids

So if I say you molested my kid, then that makes you a pedophile, right? You obviously don't have the intellectual capacity to understand my point, which is in no way, shape or form defending pedophiles. Go back and re-take 3rd grade reading comprehension, and maybe study some basic grammar as well, so you can develop a complete sentence. Tool.

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Everyone deserves "DUE PROCESS" it's an allegation, stop convicting on social media. Let it go to court and legal system.

GTFOH! You obviously don’t have kids or prey on kids yourself. I don’t trust the legal systems anyone with money can get away. OJ is still innocent of murder please!

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Everyone deserves "DUE PROCESS" it's an allegation, stop convicting on social media. Let it go to court and legal system.

GTFOH! You obviously don’t have kids or prey on kids yourself. I don’t trust the legal systems anyone with money can get away. OJ is still innocent of murder please!

So if someone 1) believes in the constitutional right to due process and 2) does not have kids of their own, we can conclude that this person is a child predator? Wow, that's brilliant, I never though of it that way. You must be the center of attention at your MENSA meetings.

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Everyone deserves "DUE PROCESS" it's an allegation, stop convicting on social media. Let it go to court and legal system.

GTFOH! You obviously don’t have kids or prey on kids yourself. I don’t trust the legal systems anyone with money can get away. OJ is still innocent of murder please!

So if someone 1) believes in the constitutional right to due process and 2) does not have kids of their own, we can conclude that this person is a child predator? Wow, that's brilliant, I never though of it that way. You must be the center of attention at your MENSA meetings.

We are talking about at least 3 victims here and it is totally unprecedented that 5 people have been removed from duty. They will have their due process no one was convicting them here this is after all shocking news.

I think the normal reaction for most parents would be to believe the 3 (and possibly more) victims and let the attorneys of the alleged perpetrators worry about their rights. The district is referring to it as “disturbing allegations” all are still on paid leave so I am not really sure how any of these people have been harmed especially since none of them have been named.
The normal reaction of most parents would be that the victims are our primary concern.

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Originally Posted by LIRef77
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Everyone deserves "DUE PROCESS" it's an allegation, stop convicting on social media. Let it go to court and legal system.

GTFOH! You obviously don’t have kids or prey on kids yourself. I don’t trust the legal systems anyone with money can get away. OJ is still innocent of murder please!

So if someone 1) believes in the constitutional right to due process and 2) does not have kids of their own, we can conclude that this person is a child predator? Wow, that's brilliant, I never though of it that way. You must be the center of attention at your MENSA meetings.

We are talking about at least 3 victims here and it is totally unprecedented that 5 people have been removed from duty. They will have their due process no one was convicting them here this is after all shocking news.

I think the normal reaction for most parents would be to believe the 3 (and possibly more) victims and let the attorneys of the alleged perpetrators worry about their rights. The district is referring to it as “disturbing allegations” all are still on paid leave so I am not really sure how any of these people have been harmed especially since none of them have been named.
The normal reaction of most parents would be that the victims are our primary concern.

Your insight, or lack thereof, is once again showing through. I will tell you how they are being harmed. They are on administrative leave instead of teaching. Let's see if any one of these 5 people will ever have the opportunity to teach in a classroom again, let alone have any career that involves interaction with children whatsoever. It doesn't matter if their names haven't been released yet - the school knows who they are, their peers know who they are, their friends and families know who they are, and eventually their names will be made public. Allegations of child abuse are not something that can be "undone", even if they turn out to be false. The toothpaste is out of the tube.

A person of normal intelligence would understand that you (and others) absolutely are convicting them here. You presume guilt and act as if no one in history has been falsely accused. I am not saying the accused are innocent, nor am I saying they are guilty - just as I have not been and am not victim shaming. Of course there should be concern for any kids involved, and I invite you to point out where I have said otherwise.

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by LIRef77
Not sure what “conviction” you speak of since what was posted was a Newsday article with full attribution.

It’s called the first amendment and news is allowed to be reported in this country.

Easy for you to stand up for someone’s rights but people don’t have a right to Coach young women, that is a privilege and when that privilege is violated in any way those alleged predators need to be removed immediately.

Do you have daughters?

Wow, as is often the case, your assessment is more than a little skewed. I am not the OP, but I believe the sentiment he/she is trying to convey is that allegations are just that - until proven or disproven in a court of law. It's called presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Regardless of whether some or all of these teachers are innocent or guilty, their names and reputations have already been permanently tarnished by the mere fact that the allegations have been made. May surprise you, but not everyone accused of a crime is guilty of committing said crime.

Whether or not someone has daughters is completely irrelevant, and suggesting that someone should view the facts of these cases differently because that person has a female child(ren) just proves the point that the OP was making.

Thank you for this.
Just because you are accused of something does not make you guilty. Anyone can stand up and make accusations. We need to wait until all the stories are investigated before making judgement. I believe many of the stories are true and bad stuff has been happening in Babylon for many years, however I don't believe every one of these 5 teachers is guilty of a crime. And yes I have daughters and would do anything to protect them.

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by LIRef77
Not sure what “conviction” you speak of since what was posted was a Newsday article with full attribution.

It’s called the first amendment and news is allowed to be reported in this country.

Easy for you to stand up for someone’s rights but people don’t have a right to Coach young women, that is a privilege and when that privilege is violated in any way those alleged predators need to be removed immediately.

Do you have daughters?

Wow, as is often the case, your assessment is more than a little skewed. I am not the OP, but I believe the sentiment he/she is trying to convey is that allegations are just that - until proven or disproven in a court of law. It's called presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Regardless of whether some or all of these teachers are innocent or guilty, their names and reputations have already been permanently tarnished by the mere fact that the allegations have been made. May surprise you, but not everyone accused of a crime is guilty of committing said crime.

Whether or not someone has daughters is completely irrelevant, and suggesting that someone should view the facts of these cases differently because that person has a female child(ren) just proves the point that the OP was making.

Thank you for this.
Just because you are accused of something does not make you guilty. Anyone can stand up and make accusations. We need to wait until all the stories are investigated before making judgement. I believe many of the stories are true and bad stuff has been happening in Babylon for many years, however I don't believe every one of these 5 teachers is guilty of a crime. And yes I have daughters and would do anything to protect them.

So you would leave your daughters alone with this person because they weren't found guilty? Give me a break! You are missing the point. Just like all those parents of the USA gymnasts missed the point. Pay attention and ask questions even if no convictions and your daughter is a starter

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by LIRef77
Not sure what “conviction” you speak of since what was posted was a Newsday article with full attribution.

It’s called the first amendment and news is allowed to be reported in this country.

Easy for you to stand up for someone’s rights but people don’t have a right to Coach young women, that is a privilege and when that privilege is violated in any way those alleged predators need to be removed immediately.

Do you have daughters?

Wow, as is often the case, your assessment is more than a little skewed. I am not the OP, but I believe the sentiment he/she is trying to convey is that allegations are just that - until proven or disproven in a court of law. It's called presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Regardless of whether some or all of these teachers are innocent or guilty, their names and reputations have already been permanently tarnished by the mere fact that the allegations have been made. May surprise you, but not everyone accused of a crime is guilty of committing said crime.

Whether or not someone has daughters is completely irrelevant, and suggesting that someone should view the facts of these cases differently because that person has a female child(ren) just proves the point that the OP was making.

Thank you for this.
Just because you are accused of something does not make you guilty. Anyone can stand up and make accusations. We need to wait until all the stories are investigated before making judgement. I believe many of the stories are true and bad stuff has been happening in Babylon for many years, however I don't believe every one of these 5 teachers is guilty of a crime. And yes I have daughters and would do anything to protect them.

So you would leave your daughters alone with this person because they weren't found guilty? Give me a break! You are missing the point. Just like all those parents of the USA gymnasts missed the point. Pay attention and ask questions even if no convictions and your daughter is a starter

I wouldn't leave my daughters alone with any teacher whether accused of something or not so no, I'm not missing the point. I speak with them all the time about stuff like this and they are very well aware that predators are all over. However, people make false accusations all the time. I'm not saying this is the case here as I don't know, but I don't think it's fair to ruin one person's life and career over one accusation. This needs to be investigated thoroughly and if any accusation has no merit, the teacher should be cleared and allowed to teach. If guilty of anything they should lose their job and possibly be arrested if the situation warrants that.

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Didn’t the AD marry his former student? Culture

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The NY Post is reporting that the victim count has surpassed 20 students.

https://nypost.com/2021/11/22/sexual-misconduct-accusations-mount-at-babylon-high-school/

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AG James’ Office to Investigate Alleged Sexual Misconduct at Babylon Schools

New York State Attorney General Letitia James in New York City, U.S., November 19, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office will investigate widespread allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct in the Babylon School District, James announced on Tuesday.

During a school board meeting last week, dozens of former Babylon High School students revealed their stories of experiencing alleged sexual misconduct by coaches and teachers. They came forward after a 28-year-old woman shared her story with News12 about a coach, who no longer works at the school, who she alleges groomed her from when she was 16 years old and then sexually abused her when she was in college. She also detailed the alleged abuse in a letter to the Babylon school board.

“Every student on Long Island and across New York deserves to feel safe and protected at school,” James said in a statement. “The reports of sexual abuse of students at the hands of their teachers and coaches are troubling and must be investigated.

“My office is launching an investigation into the Babylon School District over these disturbing allegations,” she continued. “The safety and wellbeing of students — both past and present — is of utmost importance, and we will do everything in our power to protect their right to a safe learning environment.”

Current Babylon High School students staged a walk-out in protest after hearing of the allegations against some of their teachers and coaches at the board meeting. The school district also reassigned five employees after the allegations made at the meeting.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone expressed support for James’ investigation and commended those who came forward.

“I am in awe of the courageous individuals who have come forward, both former and current students, to tell their stories,” Bellone said in a statement. “Their allegations must be thoroughly investigated and I’m confident that will now happen with the Attorney General’s investigation.

“Finally, as a parent with children who attend the Babylon school district, I also want to acknowledge the many outstanding teachers and professionals that I have personally encountered for the outstanding work they do for my kids and all of the children in our district,” he added.

According to News12, a former Babylon school board president had noticed a culture of sexual misconduct for many years but allegations were not taken seriously.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Suffolk County Police Department are also investigating the allegations, the DA’s office said in a statement.

“In light of the announcement of the civil investigation, the District Attorney’s Office and Police Department advise any person that believes he or she was the victim of a crime to contact the Suffolk County Police Department’s Special Victims Section at 631-852-6167,” the statement said.

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