The Town of Poughkeepsie Police said Thursday they didn't inform the Ossining Union Free School District that one of their employees had been arrested and convicted of sexually abusing a child because the employee had not been fingerprinted.
Samuel Campbell, 53, of Poughkeepsie, who has worked at Brookside Elementary School in Ossining since 1998, was convicted on May 1, for a criminal act against a 16-year-old victim who was not a student at the school, said Town of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ronald J. Spero Jr.
Ossining Union Free School District Superintendent Raymond Sanchez said that had the district known about the arrest or conviction, Campbell would have been suspended and then fired if he was convicted. The district found out about Campbell's legal troubles from an anonymous tip in a handwritten letter.
On Wednesday Sanches said: "I intend to strongly register the concerns of the Ossining school community with all involved law enforcement parties in Dutchess County for their failure to act," Sanchez said.
Spero said the New York State Education Department’s Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability is required to notify a school district of a school employee’s arrest when they receive information from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
But here's the issue Spero cited: The information is only triggered at DCJS by a fingerprint match when someone is arrested, but it has only been a requirement since July 2001. Campbell has worked for the school since 1998 and was not fingerprinted. He also didn't notify the district of his arrest or conviction, said Spero.
However, he added, the legislation does not prohibit a school district from requiring all employees to be fingerprinted.
"Had the defendant been fingerprinted by the school district, the arrest itself would have triggered the notification," Spero said.
Campbell was convicted of two felonies and two misdemeanors including felony rape of a person under 17, and felony criminal sexual act with a victim under 17.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, June 5.