Pittsburgh Public Schools police officer investigated in alleged sex assaults

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Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said this morning his office is investigating whether a Pittsburgh Public Schools police officer sexually assaulted a student more than a decade ago and whether district officials properly handled the student's accusation.

The accusations involve an officer who has been suspended since the student, now an adult, reported the incident to city police last month.

Mr. Zappala said more than one student has come forward to allege similar criminal misconduct against the same officer, but he would not provide further details.

At least one incident is alleged to have happened at Arthur J. Rooney Middle School on the North Side in 1999, though Mr. Zappala said that the officer worked in several public schools.

School officials disciplined the officer that year. The district attorney's office is investigating whether the district properly alerted authorities then.

"There's things that concern is about what may have not been done," Mr. Zappala said. "The questions are who knew what when and what did they do as a result?"

Lisa Fischetti, chief of staff at Pittsburgh Public Schools, said the officer was suspended with pay when a former student made the accusation again him. She said school officials turned over information to the appropriate authorities at that time.

The officer has not been charged with a crime. Authorities said detectives would be conducting interviews with several people in upcoming days.

"It will be a thorough investigation of all the circumstances surrounding the incident," Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka said.

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Sadie Gurman: sgurman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. First Published August 28, 2012 12:15 AM


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