Arizona kindergarten teacher arrested for pulling shirt off six-year-old girl

PHOENIX Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:58pm EST

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona kindergarten teacher has been arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure, accused of pulling the shirt off a crying 6-year-old girl and leaving her briefly topless in front of her class, police said on Thursday.

Thomas Washburn, 54, was arrested and taken into custody on Wednesday on suspicion of 25 counts of indecent exposure and one count of child abuse stemming from the incident at Adams Elementary School in Mesa, Arizona, police spokesman Steve Berry said.

Police said Washburn became upset while in class on Wednesday with 25 students and began shouting, causing the girl to begin crying and hide her face in her shirt.

He then removed the shirt when she would not stop crying, and class continued for about 10 minutes before he returned it, Berry said.

Washburn told the mother what happened when she arrived to pick up her daughter after classes were over for the day, police said. Authorities were called to the school after the mother contacted the principal's office.

Washburn, a teacher at the school since 2006, has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to a school district spokeswoman.

An investigation continues, but police said they do not believe that there have been any other similar instances involving Washburn in the past.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (2)
hawkeye19 wrote:
Your story is half-baked. Try again.

PHOENIX — A Mesa kindergarten teacher was arrested Thursday on suspicion of removing a female kindergartner’s shirt in class, police said.

Thomas Washburn, 54, was teaching a kindergarten class at Adams Elementary School when a 6-year-old student became upset at him shouting at the class. The developmentally delayed student hid her face in her shirt.

When Washburn asked the student to take her face out of her shirt, she refused. He then allegedly removed her shirt — leaving her naked from the waist up — and did not allow her to put her shirt back on for about 10 minutes. She was eventually allowed to dress.

Washburn told the child’s mother what he had done at the end of the school day and she informed school officials, who in turn informed police.

Washburn was charged with child abuse and 25 counts of indecent exposure, one for each child in the room along with an adult aide.

A release from the school said Washburn was hired in 2006. He was placed on paid administrative leave after the charges were filed.

Jan 16, 2014 8:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Deb1212 wrote:
In Arizona, if he is convicted, he will be sentenced to 10 years minimum time for each of the 25 counts. It’s straight time, so a minimum of 250 years with no early release. If he were to live long enough to be released, he will be required to register as a sex offender and it will have cost Arizona tax payers a minimum of 1 million dollars. That one bad decision may cost him his entire life. He will be remembered for nothing else he accomplished in his 52 years of life! I have seen this happen for even less offensive mistakes. We need to change the way we manage these types of crimes. Perhaps anger management and common sense counseling for Mr. Washburn would be a much better solution than charging him with child abuse and 25 counts of indecent exposure.

Jan 18, 2014 7:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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