A group of parents is suing the preschool at Washington Hebrew Congregation, alleging that the school ignored warning signs while a teacher sexually abused at least seven toddlers for more than a year.
The allegations are laid out against the preschool in a 239-page lawsuit filed late Monday afternoon in D.C. Superior Court.
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The lawsuit states that the preschool teacher was allowed to be alone with students despite city regulations requiring at least two adults to be present with toddlers in licensed child development centers. The school also did not properly train staff on ways to reduce the potential for child sexual abuse and to recognize signs that it may have happened, the lawsuit alleges.
The teacher identified in the lawsuit no longer works at the preschool in Northwest Washington. He was hired in March 2016, according to the lawsuit.
Within a month of the man beginning work at Washington Hebrew, teachers and parents reported to Jensen incidents of inappropriate behavior, according to the lawsuit. The alleged behavior included being late returning students when he was alone with them and not responding to co-workers who were looking for him while he was with students.
The lawsuit states that when an adult reported potential abuse to Jensen, the director said that the person reporting the potential abuse had a “sick mind” and that the teacher would never abuse children. Jensen did not investigate the incidents further, did not restrict the teacher’s access to children and did not report the allegations to city officials, according to the lawsuit.
“We are prepared to prove in this litigation that multiple adults — teachers and parents — went to the director of the school, Ms. Jensen, and either warned her specifically about behaviors they saw that were troubling or raised the concern about him taking children into rooms alone,” said Michael Dolce, an attorney at the law firm Cohen Milstein, which is representing the seven families who filed the lawsuit.
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