A Manhattan court told the New York Department of Education recently that it can’t fire a Brooklyn Technical High School teacher for telling a female student she could be his “little sex slave.”
Steven Ostrin was accused of making that and other comments to the student in 2005. Ostrin allegedly told the student she could give him a “striptease” and told her not to wear “skimpy clothes” because it would arouse him.
The New York Daily News reports that Ostrin had been investigated repeatedly since the 1990s for inappropriate behavior around his students.
Brooklyn Technical High School is the same school where teacher Sean Shaynak has recently been charged with criminal sex acts against students and disseminating indecent material to a minor. Shaynak is accused, among other things, of asking two female students to have sex with each other and taking a 15-year-old student to a nude beach, according to CBS News.
But long before Shaynak’s alleged crimes the school was dealing with another possible scandal.
Ostrin, now 61, was barred from the classroom after the 2005 complaint and has since retired on a disability pension.
The school was slow to file charges against him because it initially had doubts about the credibility of the student who made the complaint.
A hearing officer in the case eventually suspended him for six months but refused to fire Ostrin, stating that his “sexual banter” did not necessarily indicate he was trying to solicit sex from the student.
The city, wanting Ostrin fired and his pension revoked, challenged that decision but it was upheld in court in 2012. The Department of Education then stepped in to help the city and challenge the lower court’s ruling, but they were unsuccessful.
“The hearing officer made clear that the case turned entirely on the credibility of the witnesses and such determinations ‘are largely unreviewable,’” read this week’s unanimous decision from the five-judge panel, according to the New York Post.
Ostrin told the New York Daily News he just wants to put the incident behind him.
“The courts ruled in my favor … Courts keep saying, ‘Why do you keep trying to go after a person who is retired?’” he said.
“My family suffered, and I took full responsibility,” he added. “Now, nine years after the fact, it’s going to be rehashed and I have to deal with this all over again. It’s not fair to me.”