A Port Washington substitute teacher threatened one of two female students he is accused of sexually abusing in his classroom that she’d “regret it” if she told anyone, prosecutors say in court papers.
James P. Servin, 51, of Manhattan, is accused of inappropriately touching the girls the morning of Jan. 27 at Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School.
According to court papers, Servin touched one girl’s right buttock and waistline, and the other girl’s left knee and inner thigh.
Servin’s attorney, Marc Gann of Mineola, said Friday the allegations are false.
“I think that the charges are a total fabrication. I don’t find them to credible given the circumstances that are alleged,” Gann said. “My understanding is that this happened in an open classroom with other students present and another teacher in and out of the classroom.”
During Servin’s arraignment Friday, Gann entered a not-guilty plea on his client’s behalf in First District Court in Hempstead. Servin is charged with two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child, forcible touching and second-degree sexual abuse, all misdemeanors.
Judge Douglas J. Lerose ordered Servin, who was released on $5,000 cash bail, to stay away from the alleged victims.
Port Washington Police Chief James Salerno said police started an investigation when one of the girls’ parents filed a complaint late last month.
According to court papers, one of the victims told Servin twice to take his hand off her leg.
“The defendant did threaten the victim by telling her if she had told anyone about what had happened that she would regret it,” court papers said.
Servin has been a substitute teacher in the district for six years, Salerno said.
Gann said his client is a graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and a professional writer.
Superintendent Kathleen Mooney said in a statement the district is cooperating with the investigation and will no longer employ Servin as a substitute.
“The district takes these allegations very seriously, as the safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority,” Mooney said. “Accordingly, as is our policy in situations such as this, our immediate first step was to remove the teacher from the classroom to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.”