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August 18, 2004

Assault allegation at school went unreported for month

From: Newsday, NY - Aug 18, 2004

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- An alleged sexual assault on a teenage boy at the American School for the Deaf went unreported to police and child welfare officials for a month, surfacing only after the boy's mother filed a police report, the Journal Inquirer of Manchester reported.

According to police documents, Joshua Tozeski, 16, of Holden, Mass., pinned down and sodomized a fellow student in a school dormitory.

The alleged victim, a 17-year-old boy, said he told his dormitory supervisor about the incident immediately after it occurred April 12. School officials acknowledge they waited two weeks to investigate the report.

After questioning the students, school officials dismissed the matter as "horseplay" and opted not to report it to police or the Department of Children and Families, said Harvey Corson, the school's executive director.

Tozeski was suspended for 10 days, then moved to another dormitory, Corson said.

But the 17-year-old's mother brought her son to the West Hartford police station on May 10. Only after police contacted the school was DCF contacted, the newspaper reported.

Tozeski was arraigned Tuesday on sexual assault charges. He also faces a sexual assault charge in a separate case involving the roommate of the alleged victim.

Corson said he was unaware of the seriousness of the case against Tozeski until a reporter provided him with a copy of a police affidavit supporting Tozeski's arrest.

School officials are required by law to contact DCF when abuse is suspected or reported and could be fined for failing to do so. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office will investigate the school's response.

Corson said he will likely meet with board members to discuss the case and his staff's response.

Classes resume at the nonprofit school this month, but Tozeski, who recently completed his sophomore year at the school, will not return. He will attend a school in Washington, his lawyer said.

Tozeski is free without bail and has denied the allegations, telling police the sexual encounter was consensual.

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

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