Special Education Teacher Facing 14 Counts Of Prolific Child Abuse

(RepublicanPress.org) – When parents send their children to school, they expect that they will be in good care. Schools typically perform background checks on their employees to ensure they don’t have criminal convictions, especially ones involving children. Special education teachers have more responsibility as they are tasked with educating a more vulnerable population. Despite these efforts, sometimes a bad egg slips through. That’s exactly what officials allege happened in one New Jersey school, and now, a former educator is facing a multitude of charges.

Initial Charges

In October 2023, a New Jersey elementary school teacher was charged with sexually abusing children in his care. A male student at Chatsworth Elementary School came forward in September with allegations against 58-year-old Vincent Root, accusing him of touching him inappropriately during prior school years. That set off an investigation and it was determined that Root had abused seven students.

Root, a special education teacher, was then charged by authorities with seven counts each of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. The school placed him on administrative leave and banned him from the property. Root officially resigned on February 29, a move that the school accepted.

Things have only gone from bad to worse for the teacher, who is now facing even more charges after more students came forward adding to the list of allegations.

Count Increases to 14

On Friday, May 24, the Office of the Burlington County Prosecutor issued a press release announcing that a Burlington County grand jury returned an indictment. Instead of the previous 14 charges, Root is now facing 28. The number of students he allegedly violated has doubled from seven to 14. All of them are males. The abuse, per the prosecutor’s office, occurred over several years. Root pleaded not guilty to all the charges at his arraignment following the indictment.

The identities of the victims, including their names and their ages, are being withheld from the public as they are minors. Despite the severity of the charges, Root remains free on bail pending his trial.

The Prosecutor’s office as well as the New Jersey State Police conducted the probe, with BCPO Detective Gary D’Alessio heading up the investigation. There is currently no trial date known.

Prosecutors are still seeking more information, and they ask that anyone who has any information or might have been a victim themselves reach out to the Special Victims Unit at 609-265-5035. They can also send an email to [email protected].

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