READING, Pa. (CBS) — Officials in Berks County say an employee at a school in Reading has been accused of physically assaulting a student and his co-worker accused of trying to cover up the incident.
On Apr. 24, 2014, the 14-year-old victim was reportedly in class at the Paramount Academy, “an educational facility for students in grades six through 12 that require therapeutic needs that cannot otherwise be efficiently provided for in a traditional education environment,” when he was allegedly physically assaulted by 34-year-old Ismael Seals, a “behavioral specialist” at the school.
Police say Teresa A. Bivens was teaching the class while Seals was in the classroom to supervise students. At that time, students were reportedly being loud, so Seals told them to quiet down and said the next person who spoke would get “body slammed” through the door.
A little while later, the victim asked Bivens for permission to sharpen his pencil and was granted it. When the victim stood up to do so, Seals apparently ordered him to sit down, then grabbed the boy and slammed him multiple times against a classroom door before pushing him into the hallway. Holding onto the victim’s shirt, Seals was caught on surveillance camera slamming the victim headfirst into the wall and pinning him to the floor.
Officials say Seals is about 6’4” and 280 lbs. The victim is approximately 5’8” and 160 lbs and sustained scratches and bruises to his upper torso.
Employees at the school are required to complete an incident report intended to summarize the circumstances surrounding such incidents to aid an internal review. Both Bivens and Seals submitted reports as well as audio/video recordings to detectives. Both Seals and Bivens “falsely implicated the victim as being disruptive,” officials say.
In May, Bivens gave detectives a second interview. She admitted her initial interview and report were false and confirmed the victim’s report of the assault. She also reportedly said she’d lied on the initial report because she was prompted by “higher ups” to do so.
Bivens is now charged with Unsworn Falsification to Authorities and Tampering With Public Records or Information, among other things.
Seals is facing charges including Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault and Tampering With Public Records or Information.
Bivens surrendered to authorities on Aug. 5th without incident. Seals is expected to turn himself in later today.
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