Claudia Tillery: Teacher Once Accused Of Sex With 12-Year-Old Boy Sues To Teach Again
Claudia Tillery in 2011 became just one in a long line of female schoolteachers accused of engaging in sexual activities with underage students — in the case of this Brooklyn, New York, art teacher, the alleged victim was a 12-year-old boy. But the difference between Tillery and many of the other women accused of illegal teacher-student sex is that Tillery was acquitted of the charges against her.
Now, she says, she should have the right to teach again — and she is suing to get her job back.
But the school official in charge of hearing Tillery’s plea to get back in the classroom says that even though she was acquitted in a court of law more than a year ago, there is enough evidence from the court records to ban the 45-year-old due to her “conduct unbecoming” a teacher.
Tillery, in her lawsuit, protests that the school’s hearing officer, Haydee Rosario, should not be allowed to refer to evidence from her trial that was sealed by a judge, and that the student who accused her of plying him with drugs and alcohol then raping him had “numerous inconsistencies” in his account of the allegedly inappropriate teacher-student relationship.
But Rosario was unmoved.
“This is not a ‘he said, she said’ case where my determination hinges on my credibility findings,” the school official wrote in the decision to bar Tillery from reclaiming her job despite the acquittal.
“In this case, the record is replete with evidence, including the DNA analysis report that corroborates the credible account given by Student A.”
That DNA evidence, according to a report on the lawsuit in the New York Daily News, included both saliva and vaginal fluid taken from a stain on the mom of two’s bedroom comforter. The bodily fluids taken from the bedding contained both Tillery’s DNA and that of “Student A.”
Tillery countered that the boy somehow got his DNA onto the comforter when it lay in her laundry room waiting to be washed.
Rosario also lashed out at Tillery for blaming her alleged victim for “caus(ing) all of her misery,” and said that the ex-teacher’s statements that she took the 12-year-old to what Rosario called a “fleabag motel” on seven separate occasions simply to “keep him off the streets” were not believable.
The hearing officer said that the standard of proof required to deny the reinstatement of Claudia Tillery were lower than the “beyond reasonable doubt” required in a criminal trial.