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Friday, October 31, 2014

Ex-Fieldston School staffer arrested with stash of child porn

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

A former Ethical Culture Fieldston School employee has been arrested for possessing over 11,000 images of child pornography on his electronic devices and attempting to meet a 12-year-old boy in a hotel room. 

Stephen Brown was a member of Fieldston’s technology network support staff for two academic years, from 1998 to 2000, according to Fieldston Director of Communications Meredith Halpern. 

The Daily News first reported the story, stating that Mr. Brown is currently awaiting trial in an Albany jail. Criminal cases are pending in Manhattan, Westchester counties and Albany for possession of child pornography and related charges. 

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the charges stemmed from a long-term investigation led by the New York State Police, in which the defendant arranged to meet what he thought was a 12-year-old boy at the hotel. 

Ms. Halpern said the school is conducting a review to assess the nature of Mr. Brown’s interactions with students on the campus during his tenure at the school, to determine whether any abuse took place. 

“Ethical Culture Fieldston School is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our students,” she said in a e-mail statement. “The school has proactive policies and procedures designed to protect students, facilitate appropriate student-teacher relationships, and ensure the prompt reporting of suspected wrongdoing to local child protective and law enforcement agencies.”

The school is in the process of reaching out to its alumni and community networks, Ms. Halpern said. 

The Daily News reported that two alleged former victims from a Manhattan prep school have come forward accusing Mr. Brown of sexually abusing them in the mid-1980s, befriending them before luring them to his Upper East Side apartment. 

The paper also reported that former colleagues of Mr. Brown claimed he resigned from the school in 2000 after educators became concerned about his relationships with the school’s male students. 

“It always appeared that his ability to understand a proper relationship with minors was never there,” the News quoted an unnamed former colleague as saying. 

The colleague reportedly described Mr. Brown sharing his seat with students at the school and ordering packages to the Fieldston mail room for boys at the school. The News also reported that the school banned students from visiting the technology room, where Mr. Brown dealt with computer issues, after suspicions began to arise.

Mr. Brown’s criminal court arraignment took place on April 18. His next court date is set for Wednesday, May 28.

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