Today’s Investigative Special Report – January 31, 2013 “Dealing With Todays Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “When Law Enforcement Fails To Mirandize A Perpetrator The Results Can Be Alarming”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

Forensic Expert – Senior Author

The basics of being a law enforcement officer is at the police academy is learning why a person of interest or an individual who is arrested needs to be read their Miranda Warnings. Failure to Mirandize a perpetrator may have an alarming effect on what will happen to that individual. If th
New York City Police Department
New York City Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
e law enforcement officer receives a confession from the prime suspect and the officer failed to follow the law, it is possible that the confession will be thrown out in a court of law.
Duane Lester reporter of LibertyNews reported on January 29, 2013 that Arey Eller, 46, a New York City teacher in 1998 was criminally investigated and disciplined for making sexually harassing statements to female students. According to the school district investigator, Ed Stancik alleged that Eller’s behavior at time was loony and lecherous, among them:
1.      He told a student “You have a beautiful face and body and the way you dress ‘disturbs me’.”
2.      He pulled her into an empty room and blurted, “I love you.”
3.      He asked another student to lift her shirt to show off her butt, stating, “God bless, you have a nice ass.”
4.      He turned off the classroom lights during a movie, danced with open arms, and touched a girl’s shoulders. The girl allegedly screamed.
5.      He admitted and stated that “I have a crush on a girl, telling her she was “well developed” and “would make a good wife.” He then hugged her “very tightly” and confided that “he wouldn’t just fall in love with any girl…and that age doesn’t matter.
Eller who worked for only one year as a full-time teacher in the New York City public schools has been collecting almost $1 million dollars for doing administrative duties such as filing paperwork, answering the telephone, and working in what the school district has name the “rubber rooms” which is where teachers who potentially pose a danger to students are assigned until their cases are resolved.
In Eller’s case he has been working in the “rubber room” for over 14 years making $85,000 plus benefits per year. The housing of Eller into a “rubber room” seems to be something from a ‘Fairyland Tale” story. If he was “sexually harassing students” what could be as simple as firing him? Forget the confession being tossed, what about the testimony of the female victims.
The school district tried to fire Eller’s in 2000 but he was not fired because of a technicality. The technicality was during the criminal investigation, law enforcement failed to Mirandize him. The hearing officer who decides whether tenured teachers can be fired dismissed the case, ruling that Eller wasn’t told his rights.
The Board of Education failed to investigate the complaints in 1998, sending Eller for a medical exam and then back to class. Meanwhile, he gained tenure and job protections as the alleged investigation became a drawn out process.
According to many social media sources Eller’s confessed to numerous allegations that he sexually harassed female students. The information about who did not advise Eller’s of his Miranda Warnings is not explained in the social media resources.
It is reasonable and logical that the police are the only criminal justice agents who are required to advise an individual of his Miranda Warnings. If the school district investigator Stancik was acting as an agent for the police he too would be required to advise Eller’s of his Miranda Warnings.
If Eller’s case was just a one time situation maybe just maybe the community could over look his case. However, according to Daily Mail Reporters, sixteen teachers were all reprimanded for inappropriate behavior are still in their jobs.
It appears there may be many communication problems occurring with who is responsible to investigate a child sexual misconduct allegation(s) and to pursue criminal charges if necessary under the law. In the Eller matter there were multiple claims of sexual misconduct. In the other fifteen sexual misconduct performed by teachers there were numerous crimes committed. So where were the police in these cases?
The law in most States requires educational institutions to report any allegation of sexual or physical abuse to law enforcement if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the act occurred. It is not up to the educational institution to investigate a claim of sexual or physical abuse. They are to report their “reasonable suspicions” to law enforcement.
The technical errors which granted these 16 teachers to remain on the job indicate a problem within the New York City School District and the New York City Police Department. It would be necessary to review each case to come to a reasonable investigative conclusion of why each of these teachers were allowed to remain on in “rubber rooms” type scenarios.
In evaluating why these teachers were allowed to remain teaching after sexual abuse or harassment was reported here are some of the reasons things went sideways in their cases:
1.      The school district has an agreement with the New York City Police Department that when a sexual or physical abuse situation occurs, the school district investigator will investigate the claim prior to contacting law enforcement.
2.      The school district investigator has police powers but they are limited.
3.      In acting as a law enforcement agent the school district investigator would be required to follow the proper criminal procedures that law enforcement follow e.g. advising the perpetrator of their Miranda Warnings.
4.      The school district investigator and law enforcement work together in performing the investigation. It is possible the school district investigator would investigate the initial allegations and then call law enforcement. Upon responding to the school where the incident took place law enforcement would be briefed by the investigator and then law enforcement would take the investigation from this point forward.
5.      Law enforcement investigated the initial complaint, teachers such as Eller’s were contacted, but they failed to Mirandize him.
There are many reasons a law enforcement officer must Mirandize a person of interest. If law enforcement has narrowed their focus on an individual as the person who may have committed the crime, then they must administer the Miranda Warnings. If during an interview of a witness it becomes apparent that an individual who is giving law enforcement information discloses a piece of evidence only the perpetrator would know, then law enforcement are required to stop him and advised him of the Miranda Warnings.
What is happening in the New York City School District is no different than what occurs across the United States. Generally, the Board of Education who perform the investigations independently of what law enforcement does, they may investigate the allegations two to three years after the allegations were made. The problem is there are many complaints and only a few investigators to handle the case load.
Failing to perform the investigation two to three years after the allegations have been made is incompetence and illogical. In the United States teachers have one of the highest sexual assault allegations rate specifically because they deal with children on a daily basis; it is common sense. The opportunities for the teacher to act out are present during a school setting where the teacher and student are alone. Sometimes the teacher is so confident the school district will not discipline him he will sexual or physically act out towards a student.
Parents share some responsibilities in sexual and physical abuse situations. If a child is assaulted or harassed in any way, the child should have an open door policy with their parents to discuss what a teacher did to them which was inappropriate or a crime. Parents can then decide what law enforcement or school district involvement there should be.
The ultimate responsibility is for the student to tell someone that a teacher is making them feel uncomfortable. In the Eller’s matter, as soon as he made his first sexual comment he should have been reported and removed from the classroom. Failure by the student to report is and always will be an issue as being sexually harassed or assaulted is an embarrassing situation for the student. It is important that parents and the school district teach children how to report a teacher for misconduct of any kind.
Whoever the individuals are who are responsible for the 16 teachers in the New York City School District to remain in their job, it would be prudent and logical that new procedures, policies, and a process which mandates how an allegation of sexual and physical misconduct by a teacher is handled. Just maybe the Eller’s of this world will not only be placed in a “rubber room” but one with bars around it; never to see daylight.

Lawrence W. Daly
Kent, WA

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