NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Department of Education special investigator has resigned and been banned from future employment with the department, after his superiors claimed that he had engaged in a sexting relationship with a teacher.
While the teacher initially claimed she had only gone along with the sexting because she was in fear for her job, investigators concluded she actually encouraged it and said she should be fired.
DOE Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard J. Condon on Tuesday released a report detailing a probe that found investigator Lawrence Scott, 40, had been sexting with Natalya Sokolson, 44 – a teacher at P.S. 329 the Surfside School in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
The investigation began in October, when Sokolson lodged a complaint against Scott. Scott had been investigating Sokolson – for what a New York Post report said were allegations that she had yelled and grabbed students and made an obscene gesture to school principal Selena Marbury.
Sokolson told investigators Scott began sending her text messages that became more risqué over a period of several months, and began responding to them because he commented that he would be deciding whether she could keep her job, the DOE Special Investigations report said.
Sokolson said the text message exchanges happened almost daily, and also included photos and videos of herself showing “intimate areas of her body.”
She said they never engaged in a sexual relationship, but that Scott met with her alone in a room at P.S. 329 where he put his hand on her thigh and pushed up against her from behind. Sokolson recorded the meeting and provided it to investigatiors, the report said.
The text message relationship lasted from January to February of last year, but she told investigators she did not report it until October because she was scared.
But investigators later concluded that this was not what happened. Reviewing the texts, investigators found that Sokolson had initiated sexually aggressive texts with Scott, and that Sokolson aggressively purused Scott when he was trying to cool down the sexting as he closed his investigation.
Scott ended the relationship when his wife saw one of the texts Sokolson had sent on a weekend, investigators said.
When investigators confronted Scott, he admitted that he had “f***ed up” and sent Sokolson the texts and a photo of his penis. He denied touching Sokolson’s inner thigh and pressing up against her in the meeting at the school.
Investigators also found that Scott did not tamper with the findings in any of the allegations against Sokolson that he was investigating.
When investigators confronted Sokolson, she asked for an attorney and declined to speak further, the report said.
Speaking to the Post, Scott claimed the relationship was consensual and was initiated by Sokolson. He resigned in October, and has been barred from future employment with the DOE, the report said.
Investigators also recommended that Sokolson be fired and barred from employment in the city school system.
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