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Accused predator called a ‘fluke’ - P.S. 236 parents recall suspect as a ‘big kid’

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The arrest of a school volunteer for allegedly sending lewd text messages to a 12-year-old boy was a “fluke, weird thing,” according to parents.

Following a meeting of P.S. 236’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), a handful of parents stuck around to offer insight into the arrest of Mill Basin resident Colin Leahy.

Although the parents were willing to discuss how Leahy’s arrest has affected the school, they were reluctant to give their full names.

“It’s one of those fluke, weird things,” said Maureen, who has two children in the school. “I was surprised because this is a small local school and the students mostly come from the neighborhood so you don’t expect that here.”

They recalled meeting Leahy, now 23, and thinking he was immature for his age but not threatening.

“He was like a big kid,” said a mother of a fifth-grader.

Leahy was initially employed as a substitute paraprofessional at P.S. 236 but became a volunteer when his job was eliminated.

He is now facing two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

His legal problems began last November when the 12-year-old boy’s mother visited P.S. 236 and showed the text messages to the assistant principal.

The principal of P.S. 236, which is located at 6302 Avenue U, contacted the office of Richard J. Condon, special commissioner of investigation for the city Department of Education (DOE).

The investigation concluded on April 24, when Condon sent a letter to schools Chancellor Joel Klein asserting, “Leahy’s behavior has clearly shown that he has no place within the public schools.”

Margie Feinberg, a DOE spokesperson, explained, “When the principal was told about this allegation by a parent, Mr. Leahy was removed immediately. His name has been placed on the ineligible list, which means he cannot volunteer or work for the DOE again.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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