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Cops: Hauppauge schools music teacher charged with sex abuse

Mark Kimes, 53, of Moriches, was charged with

Mark Kimes, 53, of Moriches, was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of first-degree criminal sexual act. Photo Credit: SCPD

The choir director at Hauppauge High School and a veteran band leader in the New York Army National Guard sexually abused a then-16-year-old male student at the teacher's home in Moriches two years ago, Suffolk police said Wednesday.

The victim, now 18, told detectives that he was sexually abused by his chorus teacher, Mark Kimes, 53, of Long Tree Lane, when he was a student at the high school, police said. Following an investigation, Seventh Squad detectives determined Kimes had inappropriate contact with the teen while serving as his teacher, police said.

The music teacher was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of first-degree criminal sexual act. 

He was arraigned Wednesday in First District Court in Central Islip and held on $55,000 cash or $105,000 bond. He was also ordered to stay away from the victim.

Kimes, who joined the New York Army National Guard in 1985, has had a decorated 34-year career in the service, according to Guard spokesman Eric Durr. He has obtained the Bronze Star, two Army Commendation medals, a Meritorious Service medal and the National Defense Service Ribbon, Durr said.

Kimes currently has the rank of chief warrant officer 4 and serves as commander of the 42nd Infantry Division Band.

The band, Durr said, has performed across the globe, including in 2005 in Iraq — becoming the first reserve band to perform in a war zone since the Korean War.

James Symancyk, Kimes' Riverhead-based defense attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dennis O'Hara, superintendent of the Hauppauge School District, said Kimes had been reassigned and told to remain at home and not appear on district property.

"Although school is not currently in session, we did not want the individual to be on school grounds while athletes or other students may be present for summer activities," O'Hara said in a statement. "We will closely monitor this matter and continue to cooperate with the police in their investigation. Be assured the health and safety of our students is always our first priority."

In an interview, O'Hara called the case a "personnel matter" and declined to elaborate on the length of Kimes' employment in the school district, if he is being paid while assigned to home, or if there had been any prior complaints against him. 

A letter was sent to Hauppauge High School parents Wednesday afternoon alerting them to Kimes' case, O'Hara said.

Kimes is due back in court Monday.

Suffolk police ask that anyone with information about the case to call the Seventh Squad at 631-852-8752 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

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