Victim’s attorney: ASD hid video showing second victim of sexual abuse by teacher’s aide
Last updated at 4:10 p.m. on Friday, Sept., 2
The Anchorage School District sent out a press release Friday afternoon further defending their actions in this case.
The school district said they released an unedited version of the video to Anchorage police during the initial phases of the investigation. Prior to the lawsuit being filed, ASD said they gave the plaintiff’s attorney an edited version of the video in order to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
“ASD takes the allegations in this matter very seriously. The matter is in litigation and is being addressed through the legal process,” the release stated.
Embley said ASD is not aware of any other allegations.
The parents of a special needs child are suing the Anchorage School District (ASD) after they say a teacher’s aide sexually abused their son in 2014, and it took the district more than a month to investigate.
Julianti Clarke, 62, was charged with harassment in May 2015 after video surveillance at Begich Middle School showed she was abusing the child in the lunchroom. Those charges were later dropped, but court documents in the case describe a disturbing scene, which involves Clarke stroking the child’s genitals over his clothes. The documents also say Clarke picked up items from the table and stuck them down the back of his shirt.
The victim’s attorney, Mike Kramer, said watching the video was difficult enough for the family, but it wasn’t until he saw unedited footage from the Anchorage Police Department that he realized the case got even worse. Kramer says video provided by the Anchorage School District intentionally left out a portion of footage that showed Clarke had another victim.
“At least one other child was receiving similar mistreatment,” he said. “We obviously don’t know the identity of that child or whether his parents were contacted, or whether police were even notified about that, but it’s disturbing that we were given a edited video tape that removed that particularly disturbing section.”
Kramer said the camera showed his own client forced to watch the other child being abused at the same table.
“The whole time she’s doing it to the other kid, he’s pounding himself in the head with his fist,” Kramer said. “And that showed us that this was something that she was doing that not only affected the kid she was at the time abusing, but also the way she had conditioned our client, who was having a significant and visual negative impact on him having to watch.”
ASD spokesperson Heidi Embley told KTVA the district was unable to respond to questions about the missing video clip and potential second victim because its attorney was out of the office on Tuesday.
District Attorney Clint Campion he is unaware of any similar cases.
“I don’t know if there were other cases that weren’t referred to us or if there’s another case, but as far as I know, we didn’t charge her with any other abuse or alleged abuse,” Campion said.
When asked about the delay in addressing the reported abuse, Embley provided the following response:
In Sept. 2014, an ASD employee notified a school administrator of concerns that Ms. Clarke refused to open a bag of chips for a student. The administrator reviewed the concern and found no inappropriate conduct. A second, unrelated complaint of similar behavior by Ms. Clarke was reported about two weeks later (in October). That second complaint also was reviewed by a school administrator. The administrator then took additional action to further investigate beyond the first and second complaint and discovered inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature. The day of that finding, Ms. Clarke was immediately placed on leave and school administrators notified APD and OCS.
Immediate action was taken the day the interaction of questionable sexual contact was discovered; a report was made to APD and the employee was placed on leave and then terminated for cause.
Embley said Clarke’s employment with ASD was terminated on Oct. 28, 2014.
Kramer said the victim’s family has been trying to reach an agreement with ASD for the past six months, but decided to take legal action when the district refused to provide the family with a copy of the September report.
“They’ve refused to share that with us, we’ve asked many times,” Kramer said, adding that ASD told the family its surveillance cameras are cleared every 30 days, making it impossible to access video captured prior to September. “Our concern is that had they responded to this in September when they should have, they would have been able to confirm that the abuse had been going on since the start of school in August.”
Under a November 2015 plea deal, Clarke performed 48 hours of community service in exchange for dismissal of her charges of harassment.
“In the last year and a half our office has moved more toward, just generally, for lower level offenses, just trying to come up with alternatives to jail, alternatives to incarceration and trying to find out ways to ensure that the community can be held — that the community’s safer while also holding people accountable and this sort of falls in line with that,” Campion said of the deal.
The district attorney said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Clarke with a sex crime because the video didn’t prove interaction of a sexual nature between Clarke and the child beyond a reasonable doubt.
“A couple different prosecutors looked at it and said that it was not entirely clear whether there was any type of sexual contact with the child,” Campion said.
The post Victim’s attorney: ASD hid video showing second victim of sexual abuse by teacher’s aide appeared first on KTVA 11.