They were supposed to care for the international exchange students, but instead were caught punishing them.
Two women, Sun Kyung Park, 33, and Min Kyung “Pamela” Chea, 34, have been charged with endangering the welfare of four Korean abroad students in a private tutoring academy in Little Neck, prosecutors said.
The women are accused of forcing the children, ages nine through 11, to do physically abusive activities. One student had to hold six to eight books above his head for extended periods of time and was struck repeatedly with a spiral notebook, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.
They also allegedly withheld food and water and limited the boys’ usage of the bathroom.
The discipline was a result of the students misbehaving, getting a bad grade on a test or being too loud, according to Brown.
“The young victims in this case came to the United States from Korea without their parents who paid considerable sums of money to send their children abroad to learn English and obtain an education,” Brown said. “The defendants had an obligation to provide a safe environment for the students and keep them from harm – which they are accused of failing to fulfill in this case by being unable to distinguish between acceptable discipline and physical and mental abuse.”
Chea is the students’ legal guardian while Park is an employee of the educational center, Crown Tutoring Academy, located at 248-12 Northern Blvd. Crown Tutoring is owned by Chea’s husband.
Park, from Oakland Gardens, is charged with assault and endangering the welfare, and could face up to seven years of prison if convicted, prosecutors said. Chea, a Little Neck resident, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and attempted assault, and may be looking at up to one year in jail.
Both women are currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court.
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