By Andres Rodriguez & Ashley Matos
Three young accusers took the witness stand on Thursday to describe to a rapt courtroom how a former Brooklyn science teacher allegedly touched them inappropriately in their Ditmas Park elementary school (P.S. 249) between November 2012 and September 2014.
The alleged victims of sexual abuse by Omil Carrasquillo, 38, testified in Supreme Court how he had groped them on their stomachs, thighs and other areas, even on occasion going underneath their clothing.
One girl, 9 at the time of the incident, uttered one word when Assistant DA Ebonie Legrand asked how the alleged groping made her feel:
“Empty,” the girl said.
She repeated on the stand what she had put in a written statement to the assistant principal: “He has to pay for what he did.”
Also testifying were two other girls one 9 years old at the time she was allegedly fondled by Carrasquillo, and another 10 years old. The 10-year-old testified that he had called her baby and would touch her below the belt while she was in class.
None of the incidents took place outside classrooms of the school, P.S. 249 on Marlborough Road.
As the girls described the ordeal the jury members appeared uncomfortable, looking away or down at their shoes.
Defense attorney Anthony LaPinta has suggested that the incidents came to light only after Carrasquillo made his classroom rules stricter. He has also said that the former teacher used to hug his students and that such displays of affection might have been misconstrued.
On the first day of the trial, Carrasquillo was poised to take a deal under which he would serve a five-year prison sentence, five years’ post-release supervision and register as a sex offender in exchange for a guilty plea. But he suddenly reneged after a member of his family shouted out, “The truth will prevail.”
The defendant, who lives in Long Island with his wife and son, quit his teaching job after his arrest in 2014.
If convicted, he could face 35 years in prison.
This story is a collaboration with Brooklyn News Service.