Brooklyn School Officials Failed to Report Repeated Sexual Abuse of 11-Year-Old Girl

A recent investigation has determined that an assistant principal and a guidance counselor at Brooklyn Public School 219 mishandled an 11-year-old’s allegations that she was being sexual abused by fellow students.

The report released by Special Commissioner of Investigations Richard J. Condon recommended that the Department of Education fire Patricia Sabater, the assistant principal at the Brownsville school, and take “appropriate disciplinary action” against Guidance Counselor Rebecca Shaffren, noting that both educators had failed to properly address the young girl’s repeated reports of unwanted touching and abuse by male students.

According to the report, the girl had filed several written complaints that two male students had touched her inappropriately. She had told investigators that the abuse had been going on since October 2010 and that she had filed complaints to the principal, assistant principal and her teacher in October, November and December 2010, and in January and February 2011. She then broke down and reported the incident to her mother last May. Another student had then come forward saying that she too was harassed by the male students.

The student’s teacher told investigators she had reported the abuse to Sabater on multiple occasions, and was not given any instruction on how to proceed. Another teacher told Sabater that she had witnessed the abuse and Sabater told her “I will take care of this”.

Sabater claims she attempted to contact the student’s mother, who says she heard nothing of the abuse until her daughter reported it to her. Both the mother and t he student filed reports, and when no action was take they informed the NYPD.

A DOE spokesman said in a statement, “We have zero tolerance for educators who put our children at risk – and the findings of this report are deeply disturbing. We plan to seek termination of the assistant principal and will take appropriate disciplinary action against the guidance counselor.”

If your child has been sexually abused or injured due to unsafe conditions, contact Jacoby & Meyers today. We can help.

Read more on this story.


Dear friends and clients,

In furtherance of our firms culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP