A Brooklyn, New York, public school teacher who allegedly had sexual relations with her 12-year-old student has filed a lawsuit stating she was unfairly fired from her job.
Claudia Tillery, who worked at Stephen Decatur Middle School in Brooklyn for 15 years, was removed from her position by the Department of Education.
Tillery was arrested in 2011 on sexual assault charges. She allegedly began an affair with her student when he was 12 years old, which lasted for two years, CBS New York reported. Tillery reported supplied drugs and alcohol to the boy during that time.
In 2014, Tillery was acquitted by a jury on all criminal charges.
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In April, Department of Education Hearing Officer Haydee Rosario found that a “preponderance of the credible record evidence” proved that Tillery sexually assaulted the boy, according to New York Post.
In a Department of Education hearing, a lower standard of proof is required than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” requirement for a criminal conviction.
The evidence in the case included DNA samplings that tested positive for both Tillery and the boy's saliva on her bed comforter, a video the student recorded of Tillery putting her pants on in a motel room, over 8,000 text messages sent between the boy and Tillery, and credit card receipts that place Tillery at the Motor Inn on seven occasions.
Tillery argued she took the boy to the motel room to “get him off the street” when he called her “upset and scared.”
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Upon review of the evidence, Rosario found that terminating Tillery was “the only appropriate penalty.”
Tillery is now suing the Department of Education, stating she was denied due process because the hearing officer used sealed evidence from her criminal case and did not accept her witnesses. The witnesses included her own children and their homeless, schizophrenic father.
Claims of bias were also raised by Tillery in the suit because Rosario allowed an assistant district attorney to testify that Tillery had admitted to bringing the boy home to her apartment, where she gave him $500 and bought him a cell phone.
Rosario's decision is in line with the Department of Education's charges, who mocked Tillery’s claims that a 12-year-old boy “concocted a grand conspiracy and coerced her, a middle-school teacher, to ignore sound judgment and to put him into a fleabag motel and give him hundreds of dollars.”
Photo Credit: New York Post