A special education teacher at New Haven Public Schools was arrested after three separate incidents of sexual assault involving children under the age of 13, police said.
Robert Schmitt, 48, is accused of sexually assaulting special needs students at the MicroSociety Magnet School, on Valley Street, during the 2011-2012 school year.
A social worker reported overhearing an allegation of abuse by a 12-year-old girl on April 29. The unidentified social worker informed the school's principal and the Connecticut Department of Children & Families.
Authorities escorted Schmitt off the school property on the next day and he has not been allowed back since, police said.
Schmitt was suspended by the school system pending the outcome of the police and DCF investigations. School officials said they are "moving forward with termination proceedings."
"In this case, the principal acted immediately to remove the teacher once allegations were made," said MicroSociety Magnet School Superintendent Garth Harries in a statement Thursday.
On May 7, a 14-year-old girl told police and school officials about alleged sexual assault involving Schmitt. On May 9, police also determined a 12-year-old boy was allegedly sexually assaulted by Schmitt.
"The safety and well-being of our students must be the absolute top priority for the school district and our staff," Harries said. "Children should feel safe in school and parents should feel safe sending their children to school. We work hard every day to maintain safety and well-being, and we act immediately to investigate any concerns brought to our attention."
Eyewitness News obtained the arrest warrant where it states Schmitt is accused of inappropriately touching the students in the confines of his private office. When MicroSociety Principal Rosalyn Bannon made a move to close that office, she said she found it odd when Schmitt pleaded and protested to keep it.
This week, a letter about the incident was sent to parents of the MicroSociety Magnet School, which is a pre-K to eighth-grade school.
Counselors were made available to students and their parents.
School officials said they are cooperating with the DCF and police in the investigation.
Schmitt was charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault in the fourth degree and risk of injury to a child, as well as one count of third-degree assault.
Eyewitness News paid a visit to Schmitt's Hamden home. The lights were on, the grill was going in the backyard, but no one answered.
"Real shocking, that's so close to home," said parent Cory Wilson of New Haven
New Haven parents said they are beside themselves, while Schmitt's longtime neighbors are left stunned.
"It's just a bad a scene, just not good," said Ted Haussler of New Haven.
Schmitt is due back in New Haven Superior Court on Sept. 24. He has not entered a plea at this time.
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