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Northeast Parent teacher's assistant, teacher charged in separate cases

Northeast Parent teacher's assistant, teacher charged in separate cases

CEO: 'This is not who we are'
Northeast Parent teacher's assistant, teacher charged in separate cases
Northeast Parent and Child Society in Schenectady.

A teacher's assistant at Northeast Parent and Child Society in Schenectady is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student, authorities said Monday.

The case follows unrelated attempted physical assault allegations leveled Friday against a teacher at the Northeast Parent and Child Society school on Hamburg Street.

The teacher's assistant turned herself in to police Monday, prosecutor John Carson said.

Culhane.jpg

Alexandra Culhane, 24, of Scotia, faces one count each of third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act, felonies.

Culhane is accused of having sexual contact with the student in April 2016 in Schenectady, according to papers filed in court.

They met while at the Northeast Parent and Child Society school in Schenectady, Carson said.

The investigation began when the school became aware of an alleged inappropriate relationship between Culhane and the student and notified law enforcement. 

The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs initially investigated, then turned the case over to the Schenectady Police Department for further investigation, Carson said.

An attorney for Culhane could not be reached for comment.

In the Friday attempted physical assault arrest, the Justice Center charged teacher Ryan Johnson, 45, of Saratoga, with endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree attempted assault, misdemeanors, along with violation harassment.

Johnson is accused of removing the victim from a classroom and into the hall at the Hamburg Street school March 16. Johnson then allegedly grabbed the student around the student's neck and forcibly slammed the student into a wall, trying to take the student to the ground, according to papers filed in court.

The attack ended when Northern Rivers employees intervened, the Justice Center said. Northern Rivers is the umbrella organization over Northeast Parent and Child.

Johnson was promptly terminated, the Justice Center said.

Northern Rivers CEO William T. Gettman issued a statement Monday concerning both arrests.

"Nothing is more important than the safety of the children in our care," the statement reads. "The actions referenced in these incidents in no way reflect the values or practices of our organization. This is not who we are."

He continued that such allegations result in the accused employee being immediately removed from duty, an investigation is launched and the appropriate authorities are notified.

"We will continue to fully participate in any additional measures to ensure a swift and just resolution," the statement read.

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