NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The trial has gotten underway for a teacher’s aide at an Upper West Side public school, who is accused of molesting a then-8-year-old boy.
The alleged incidents occurred at P.S. 87, 160 W. 78th St., where Atkins has worked since 2008. Prosecutors say he inappropriately touched the boy on five occasions in the school’s bathroom and auditorium.
The boy, now 9, offered graphic testimony during the trial on Friday, according to a published report.
He testified Atkins followed him into the restroom at the school and demanded that he take his clothes off, according to a New York Daily News report. The boy also testified that Atkins tried to massage him, and demanded that the boy touch himself while he watched, the newspaper reported.
When defense attorney David Segal asked the boy about his behavioral problems and conflicts with a second-grade teacher, the boy yelled at him to “shut up, and stop being a bully now,” the newspaper reported.
Similar accusations were made against Atkins by a parent several years ago.
Documented in a letter to the Department of Education in 2006, when Atkins was working at M.S. 322 in Manhattan, a mother reported concern about Atkins after he showered her son with gifts, offered to babysit him, and lurked at his sports games.
No charges were filed because the relationship was not found to be sexual.
At the time of Atkins’ arrest, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott responded by saying: “We take this allegation very seriously and we pledge to cooperate fully in the ongoing police investigation.”
Atkins was offered a plea deal that would have carried five years in prison, but he declined, the newspaper reported.
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