Child endangerment case against Glen Head gym teacher dismissed
One of the four students who said he saw his gym teacher watching pornography in his office while fondling himself has recanted, and two others have refused to cooperate with authorities.
With no evidence to corroborate the boys' stories, the case against North Shore Middle School gym teacher Aaron Kozlowski, 31, has collapsed, prosecutors said.
"There is insufficient proof to go forward and we are dismissing them [the charges]," prosecutor Christiana McSloy told a judge on Sept. 27.
On the same day, Nassau District Court Judge Valerie Alexander threw out four child endangerment charges, including the one based on allegations made by the fourth boy, who still says the story is true.
North Shore school district officials said they are reviewing whether to reinstate Kozlowski, who had been on paid leave since his April arrest.
"I've worked at the school for nine years and have never had any single issue," Kozlowski said in his first interview. "And then all of a sudden, my character is being questioned, my reputation is being questioned for something that never happened."
The mother of the 12-year-old boy who maintained the allegations are true declined a request for an interview. Newsday, which is not identifying the boys because they are minors, was unable to reach parents of the other boys.
Kozlowski said he is considering litigation against the boys' families, largely to recover the costs of defending himself. He said he hopes the boys have learned a lesson.
"I think it should definitely be a learning experience for them and they should get the appropriate help that they need so they understand the ramifications of their actions," he said.
Kozlowski has also been barred from coaching lacrosse and other sports at North Shore after school. And while he works to restore his name, he said his mug shots and news stories about the arrest are permanently on the Internet.
The case began early this year, when the boys, ages 12 and 13, told their guidance counselor that on Feb. 8 they saw Kozlowski sitting in front of his computer watching two naked men engaging in sex and stimulating himself. The 12-year-old boy who stood by his story said he was "looking through the window" of Kozlowski's office door, while his friends saw the teacher through the partially opened door, said a statement the boy made to police.
The boys told police they didn't tell anyone for a month for fear of reprisal and because they didn't want Kozlowski to lose his job.
Then, during a March 7 gym class, the 12-year-old boy said Kozlowski told him "the way you are doing your push ups are very sexual," then touched his chest with his hand instead of using a cone as he did with other students. The 12-year-old boy told his friends and on March 11, they decided to go to the guidance counselor.
The school launched its own investigation, but the matter wasn't referred to police until April.
Marc Gann, Kozlowski's attorney, said prosecutors searched his client's work computer, his personal laptop and his wife's personal laptop and found no pornography.
Kozlowski also said the 12-year-old boy's version can't be true because there is a wall in front of the office door that prevents anyone inside from seeing into the boys' locker room, and that would have blocked the boy's view.
Also, on the day the 12-year-old student claimed Kozlowski made the comment, the boy had class with another gym teacher, Kozlowski said.