An IrishAmerican high school teacher in the Bronx has been arrested for abusing a nine-year-old relative – two decades after he escaped a rap for sleeping with a student.
Thomas Gibbons, a 59-year-old special education teacher at JFK HS, was arrested at his Eastchester home and sent to Paterson in New Jersey where it is alleged he molested a relative.
The New York Post reports that Gibbons was accused of sleeping with an underage student two decades ago but remained in the classroom because of a broken disciplinary system.
The paper says his arrest comes just days after city officials launched a massive campaign to give the schools chancellor the power to fire such teachers.
The move came, according to the report, in the wake of dozens of similar cases.
Gibbons escaped punishment in 1996 as state law gives the power to discipline teachers rests with an independent arbitrator.
He was sent back to the classroom despite accusations that he had a sexual fling with a student at the former William Taft HS in The Bronx that began when she was 15.
The New York Post reports that both the Department of Education and the teachers union must jointly agree on an arbitrator.
It says city officials argue the system is broken because often arbitrators don’t want to rule against teachers for fear of not getting additional work.
It also states that Gibbons was arrested in 1995. The report says: “He allegedly grabbed his student lover by her hair, slammed her against a locker and later pointed a gun at her chest.
“After Gibbons’ arrest, a schools investigator tapped the girl’s phone calls and caught the teacher detailing the couple’s long alleged sex life.
“He also was recorded begging her not to press charges and she eventually agreed.”
The girl was 20 by the time the case went to an independent arbitrator and she refused to testify.
The arbitrator dismissed the charges even after she heard the recording.
The investigators also presented her with a complaint by another Taft student who accused Gibbons of touching her sexually.
“In my view, the evidence presented is insufficient to prove that Gibbons had sex with her when she was a high-school teenager,” adjudicator Margaret Leibowitz wrote.
Now Gibbons was been charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child and faces a maximum of up to five years in jail if found guilty.
Prosecutors allege that Gibbons would periodically visit relatives in Paterson where he allegedly abused the little girl between January 2010 and January 2011.
His pregnant Chinese wife has been stunned by the allegations.
Neighbor Marie Petrie told the Post: “She’s is not fully aware of what’s going on. She thinks it is all lies.”