Teacher Cleared Of Failing To Report Sex Abuse Charge
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Charges of failing to report a case of child sexual abuse have been dropped against one of three teachers who worked at Western High School in Davie.
Pamela Devine was an ESE Specialist at the school and one of three teachers who was reassigned to another location during the investigation into their conduct.
Prosecutors dropped the charges against Devine in court on Monday.
Devine’s attorney said she was not the child’s teacher or her guardian, and therefore had no duty to report the information under the law.
“She did no wrong,” attorney Albert Cartenuto told CBS 4′s Carey Codd. “She didn’t commit a crime.”
CBS4 News first reported this story in September when investigative documents obtained by CBS4 News from the Broward State Attorney’s Office laid out the allegations against the teachers.
Prosecutors said two years ago a special needs child wrote an essay in which she described how she was raped by someone she dated. Prosecutors said the child’s teacher, Cathy Schwartz, shared the essay with two other teachers but that none of the trio contacted the state’s child abuse hotline.
The child’s mother said she didn’t learn about the essay until seven months later when it was disclosed during a meeting about her daughter’s educational progress.
“They didn’t do what they were supposed to do,” the child’s mother said back in May. “They didn’t do the right thing and the story is what it is today.”
The mother said her teenaged daughter chose the essay as a way to describe the things in which she was dealing.
Prosecutors said Schwartz graded the assignment and shared it with teacher Mirtha Fernandez and Devine.
An attorney for one of the teachers told CBS4 News in September that the student later told her teacher that the essay was made up. The child’s mother disputed that claim.
Prosecutors told CBS4′s Carey Codd the charges remain in place against the other two employees. Prosecutors also said the law that allowed Devine to escape culpability has since been changed.