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Education Center in Queens Allegedly Abused Students: DA

A tutoring center in New York City is under fire after one of its owners and an employee were arrested and charged with physically and emotionally abusing four young Korean students in their charge.

All four children were Korean nationals between the ages of 9 and 11 years old and attended the Crown Tutoring Academy in Little Neck, NY. According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, owner Min Kyung Chea and employee Sun Kyung Park were arrested and charged with assault, attempted assault and child endangerment.

A statement by the DA’s office details the allegations, which include accusations that the pair hit the children, deprived them of food and water and forbade them from using the restroom more than three times a day.

The children were all living in New York under the guardianship of nannies and other paid caregivers while their parents remained in Korea. The New York Times reports that it is increasingly popular for Korean families to send their children abroad to private schools and tutoring centers for part or all of their education.

“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,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “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.”

Authorities became aware of the abuse allegations after one of the children’s nannies noticed scratches and marks on the boy’s shoulder and back. Several of the children’s mothers reportedly also became concerned after talking to their children about their experiences via Skype.

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— Lakshmi Gandhi