Charges to be filed against 2 IPS employees after delay in reporting child seduction allegations
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 12, 2016)– The Marion County Prosecutor’s office is expected to file charges Wednesday against two Indianapolis Public Schools employees.
IPS Director of Human Resouces Lela “Tina” Hester and human resources case worker Shalon Dabney will each face one count of failure to make a report, which is a misdemeanor charge.
The charges come after a six-day delay between the district finding out about a guidance counselor’s alleged sexual encounters with two students at Longfellow Alternative School and making a report to the Department of Child Services.
Shana Taylor, 37, faces 11 counts total in the case. Nine of them are child seduction charges, along with one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and dissemination of matter harmful to minors.
According to court documents, an assistant principal at Longfellow Alternative School first found out about the alleged abuse on February 17 from a victim’s mother, who provided explicit photos and messages between her son and Taylor.
The assistant principal contacted IPS’s Director of Student Services, who then told him to contact Hester. The assistant principal forwarded the information to Dabney, who also informed Taylor she was being placed on leave.
Despite suspending Taylor on February 18, no one with the district filed a report with DCS until February 23.
In Indiana, every citizen of the state is a “mandated reporter,” meaning we all have the responsibility to speak up and report to authorities if child abuse or neglect is suspected.
IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee issued the following statement:
“We are grateful for the thoroughness and professionalism of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in this matter. IPS will tolerate nothing less than the safest and most secure learning environment possible for our students, teachers, and support personnel. Today’s announcement by the Prosecutor’s Office in no way undermines or diminishes the progress IPS continues to make every day in our schools, and I appreciate all the support we continue to receive from parents and the IPS family.”