Sexting case in New Britain involving college student continues - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sexting case in New Britain involving college student continues

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Katrina Hernandez Katrina Hernandez

Last May, a college student was accused of sending inappropriate messages to children at Vance Village Elementary School in New Britain.

For the last nine months, Eyewitness News has been digging to get answers about why parents were never notified when the allegations first surfaced.

Central Connecticut State University, 24-year-old Katrina Hernandez, was observing a fifth grade class at the New Britain school.

But some parents said she was sending inappropriate late-night messages to their 10 year old sons.

"My job is to protect my kid...not to have a 24-year-old trying to lure him into things he doesn't know about yet,” Martha Ruiz said to Eyewitness News last May.

When school district officials learned about the allegations on or around May 13, they immediately told Hernandez she was no longer welcome. What they didn’t do, is send a note home to parents.

"We get notes about lockdowns but we can't get a note about the face an intern is texting 10 year olds after 11 at night when our kids should be in bed,” Ruiz said.

It wasn’t until May 26 that the school district decided to advise parents.

Through a Freedom of Information request, Eyewitness News uncovered an email from Principal Sarah Harris to administrators, which said "It has been a rough day as you know. The media really made us look like we are not keeping our parents well informed. Should we create a letter to all families now that it has been on the news?"

When Eyewitness News asked Paul Salinas, the school district’s chief operating officer, why a note was never sent home, he said police told him not to.

However, Police Chief James Wardwell said “It is not typical that the police would ever dictate how the schools communicate with the students or their families. That is a very legitimate function of the schools."

Eyewitness News forwarded that response to Salinas, and once again asked for answers.

An FOI request revealed an email that night from Salinas to then Superintendent of Schools Kelt Cooper, admitting what he said was not true. The email said "I am not going to respond to this email from Erin since no response will be right for the news. No one told us not to send a note home, but the police had left Sarah with the impression that they wanted to do their investigation without information being spread or tainted."

It is a concerning turn of events for parents in the district.

"It makes me feel unsafe with the he school and their judgement. Bottom line,” said Anestos Moffat.

While it may have taken months, but the bottom line is Eyewitness News wanted to get answers for the public, and it did.

As for Hernandez, she is still a student at CCSU and she is due back in court to face a judge on May 5.

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