A school aide in Queens was arrested Thursday on charges of sexually abusing six 9- and 10-year-old girls at the school, becoming the fifth city school worker charged in the last few weeks with sexual crimes against children.
The aide, Brett Picou, 30, of Public School 52 in Springfield Gardens, is awaiting arraignment on seven felony counts of sexual abuse, one felony count of repeated sexual abuse of a child and seven misdemeanor counts of forcible touching, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Mr. Picou has been a full-time paraprofessional at the school since January 2010, the Education Department said. Paraprofessionals are aides assigned to individual students, often special-needs students or students in crisis. Mr. Picou has no disciplinary record and has been suspended since the allegation was made on Feb. 15, the department said.
The recent string of charges against school employees, several of them with histories of sexual contact with children buried in their personnel records, prompted the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, to order a review last week of all substantiated cases of misconduct since 2000; he pledged to fire any teachers who had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior.
The arrests began Feb. 6, when a teacher’s aide in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, was charged with making videos of his sexual acts with children.
Then a teacher’s aide on the Upper West Side was arrested on sexual abuse charges after a male student told investigators that the man had him strip in the school’s lavatory and, at another point, offered money to fondle the boy.
On Feb. 16, a computer teacher in Queens with a history of inappropriately touching children was arrested on charges of inappropriately touching an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy.
And on Wednesday, word came that a substitute high school teacher in the Bronx had been arrested on charges that he twisted a 16-year-old male student’s nipples on Feb. 10.