A community theater director, who is also a high school math teacher, was arrested after he committed a lewd act in the presence of a 15-year-old girl, police said Saturday.
Robert J. Miller, 35, of Catherine Street, Northport, was arraigned early Saturday in Northport Village Justice Court on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and first-degree public lewdness, according to a Northport Police Department news release.
Miller, technical director of Northport-East Northport Community Theater, was working on a production Friday night at the theater at the William J. Brosnan Administration Building in Northport when he asked the girl to go with him to his car, which he told her was having mechanical issues, police said.
He asked the girl to rev the engine and take off a shoe and sock so she could “feel the vibration of the gas pedal,” the news release said. The girl then noticed Miller was masturbating outside the driver’s side door, police said. Miller told the girl to look forward at the dashboard gauges. Shortly after, the girl looked at Miller and saw that he was still masturbating, police said. She then got out of the car and returned to the building.
Miller is a teacher at Smithtown West High School.
Smithtown Central School District Superintendent James Grossane said in a statement posted to the district website Saturday afternoon that Miller has been placed on administrative leave.
Counseling will be available to students, Grossane said.
“We will continue to assist in the police investigation, as needed,” he said.
Grossane said that “during this teacher’s 14 years working within the district there have been no incidents reported.”
He said the girl is not a district student.
Theater owner Bette Silver declined to comment Saturday afternoon.
Police believe there could be additional victims. Any potential victim in the Northport area should call Det. Peter Hayes or Det. Peter Howard of the Northport police at 631-261-7500. Any potential victim in the Smithtown area should call the Suffolk County Police Department’s Fourth Precinct detective squad at 631-854-8452.