Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Second female teacher in as many months charged with child seduction at Indianapolis high school

(Original Post 2-18-10)

For the second time in two months, a female employee at Indianapolis' Pike High School was charged with child seduction, a Class D felony. After school officials contacted Indianapolis police and after questioning the night of February 17, 40 year old Taine Abdullah was charged with an illegal sexual relationship with a 17 year old special needs student today.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Abdullah was an instructional assistant who tutored the boy after he returned to school in January. Police said that in one of three encounters, Abdullah performed oral sex on the boy and then texted him about the encounter, later asking him to delete the text because she could get in trouble for what she had done.

Investigators said that in a Feb. 5 incident, the boy skipped school and stayed at Abdullah's house, where they fondled each other.

"She admitted that she knew what she had done was wrong," according to the affadavit. Lieutenant Jeffery Duhamell stated why Abdullah was charged with child seduction when Indiana's AOC is normally 16. "She's a person of trust and he's a student, and that's supposedly how they met, and, basically, that crosses the line and becomes a criminal act."

Abdullah, who has worked as a teacher's aide at Pike High, has been removed from the classroom, according to officials. She's being held on $30,000 bond. Besides Abdullah, former coach Sara Strahm has been charged with the same crime for a relationship with a player on her girls' basketball team.

(Update 2-24-10) Abdullah pled not guilty at her arraignment yesterday. Her bond was reduced to $500, allowing her to be placed on house arrest until trial. Her attorney, Jack Crawford, described the conditions of house arrest.

"The judge was very firm. She cannot have any contact - she cannot even pick her daughter up at school or drop her off at school. She's gonna have to make different arrangements while this case is pending and that's understandable. The charges are serious. They involve young people, so while these charges are going on, she must avoid young people."

The reason Abdullah can't pick up or drop off her daughter is because she was fired from Pike High and barred from going onto the premises. She still has supporters from her church.

"She needs all the support she can get," said Anthony Chapman, a church member. "I'm not discounting the fact that she's made a mistake. But at these times it's important to have support of your church family."

Her church members have a message for the student and his family involved in this case. They're hoping the student's family can look past the alleged conduct.

"Hopefully they can find it in their heart to forgive. Its about forgiveness and reconciliation and in America you have a lot of high profile cases and celebrities who make mistakes as well as common people," said Chapman.

Abdullah faces 1 to 3 years in prison if convicted as charged.

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