An upstate New York teacher's aide is facing felony charges after she allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old special needs student in a public park.
Alexandra Culhane, 24, who worked as a teacher's aide at The School at Northeast in Schenectady, has been arrested for felony rape and criminal sex act after she is alleged to have had sex with a 15-year-old student.
The woman reportedly engaged in oral sex and intercourse with the male student in Schenectady's Central Park in April 2016. He was a student at the school where Culhane worked, reports the Daily Mail.
Culhane was reported by coworkers at the school who learned about the relationship, leading to a police investigation.
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The School at Northeast teaches students from grades 6 to 12 with special needs.
"We constantly monitor and supervise all of our faculties," said Northern Rivers spokesman Eugene White, according to the Albany Times Union. "If something happens, we want to uncover it immediately and take corrective action. ... Transparency and accountability are vitally important."
When the investigation began, Culhane was placed on administrative leave, and The School at Northeast fired her in February.
"The evidence would support and the people's theory of the case would be that Ms. Culhane met the victim in this matter through the course of her employment while he was enrolled and attending classes at that school," said Assistant District Attorney John Carson, WNYT reports.
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"We will continue to fully participate in any additional measures to ensure a swift and just resolution," said the school in a statement. "We will learn from this situation, make changes where needed and continue to hold ourselves to the absolute highest standard."
She also worked as a coach for Scotia-Glenville High School's girls' junior varsity field hockey team in the fall seasons of 2015 and 2016.
According to a spokesperson from Scotia-Glenville Central School District, Culhane was not a full time employee, but a seasonal one. The spokesperson added that they had not received any complaints about Culhane during her time at the school.
Culhane's arrest comes a week after another teacher from The School was arrested and accused of assaulting a student in the hallway.
Ryan Johnson, 45, allegedly grabbed the student by the neck, pushing the student against the wall and on to the floor in March. He was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, harassment, and attempted assault.
Other employees at the school intervened in the attack to stop it. Gunning was fired from the school shortly after the incident.
"We appreciate the prompt actions of the staff members who intervened before the victim was injured, and who immediately reported the incident to the Justice Center," said Special Prosecutor Patricia Gunning.
"Without conscientious workers who report abuse when they see it, many instances would go undiscovered," Gunning added.