A Jamaica Hills high school teacher was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Saturday, June 4, and charged with forcibly touching a 14-year-old girl and “sexting” another one of his students last month, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Shannon Hall, 31, of 123rd Avenue in Jamaica, was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Denis Johnson on two criminal complaints charging him with forcible touching, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated harassment in the second degree and sexual abuse in the third degree.
According to the charges, Hall was inside his classroom at Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School on May 25 with a 14-year-old female student when he allegedly grabbed and squeezed her breast. In separate incidents occurring on May 24 and 25, Hall is alleged to have sent “inappropriate text messages” to a 16-year-old student, including one that read “I want to be with you,” followed by an apology text the following day, which stated that he was drunk, Katz said.
According to the charges, on May 25, Hall allegedly told the 16-year-old girl that he was jealous of her and a male student at the school and that she should look out for him the way he looks out for her. Later that evening, the teenager sent a text to her teacher asking what he meant and Hall allegedly responded, texting among other things, that he wanted to kiss her, smoke with her and have sex with her, according to the complaint.
After sending those text messages, Hall then allegedly threatened her with another text message saying if she showed anyone the messages that she would be dead.
Officials at Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School contacted police at the 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows after the 16-year-old complained about the sexually suggestive and threatening texts. Officers took Hall into custody on the evening of June 2.
“As parents, each day we drop our children at school, and entrust their care and custody to teachers, whom we expect to be our surrogates in every regard,” Katz said. “It shocks the conscience to believe that a person in a professional capacity, charged with a child’s welfare, would exploit his position of authority and trust, and as alleged, endanger a child’s welfare and engage in aggravated harassment and sexual abuse of a minor.”
Judge Johnson ordered Hall to return to court on June 28. If convicted, Hall faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for each complaint. Gateway to the Sciences High School is located on the Jamaica Educational Campus at 167-01 Gothic Dr. in Jamaica Hills.
“This alleged behavior is completely unacceptable and will be fully investigated,” Department of Education spokeswoman Jenna Lyle said. “This employee has been reassigned away from the school and students pending the outcome of the arrest and if convicted, we will pursue his termination. There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our students.”