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Math director, part-time professor suspected of sending mysterious sexting, Instagram messages to student

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James O'Toole is accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a student. (New Haven police) James O'Toole is accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a student. (New Haven police)

The director of math for Hamden Public Schools and part-time professor at a community college in New Haven was arrested on harassment charges.

According to police, 44-year-old James O'Toole of Cromwell sent a female student inappropriate text messages and Instagram communications.

O'Toole, who is an adjunct professor at Gateway Community College and heads up the math department for the Hamden Public School District, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree harassment. 

Police said the case came to them on Nov. 10, 2016. The unidentified 18-year-old victim claimed she had been receiving sexually explicit texts since mid-September. She said she made it clear to the sender that they were unwanted.

The victim said she didn't know who was sending them. She originally thought they were from a classmate.

Over a six month period, Det. Leonardo Soto said he built a case and applied for five warrants.

With the help of Sgt. Cary Broderick of the Gateway Community College Police Department, the victim's math teacher, O'Toole, was identified as the suspect.

As soon as Gateway officials learned that a student reported the incident, O'Toole was removed from his position and has not been on campus since the start of the investigation. 

"Mr. O’Toole is an employee of the Hamden School District who also taught one college-prep math course per semester at Gateway Community College (GCC). He has been relieved of his duties at the college and there is a protective order forbidding him to return to the GCC campus in the future," Gateway Community College said in an email to Eyewitness News. 

The Gateway Community College works in conjunction with Hamden Public Schools to provide extra help to students not yet ready for college-level courses.  

 "Mr. O'Toole was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation undertaken by the Human Resources Department. The investigation does not include any Hamden Public School students or staff," according to Hamden's superintendent. 

"Just to hear that it happened to where you go, it's kind of disgusting, to be honest," Victor Mariano, who is a student at Gateway, said. 

O'Toole is due back in court next month. 

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