A Long Island teacher was arrested Thursday, accused of raping a 15-year-old student in 2013, authorities announced.
Timothy Harrison was a 38-year-old teacher at Babylon High School and assistant girls lacrosse and basketball coach at the school at the time of the allegation, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said Thursday during a news conference.
Harrison was charged with two counts of rape in the third degree and one count of a criminal sex act in the third degree.
Administrators with the Babylon Union Free School District contacted Suffolk County police in October 2021 regarding allegations of misconduct involving district staff, according to a police news release. An investigation was launched with the department’s special victims section.
A woman came forward in November 2021 with the rape allegation, the news release said. She said it took place in the fall of 2013 when she was a minor, according to police.
The commissioner said during the news conference that the rape took place off school grounds, but the victim noted there was “inappropriate physical contact while at school.”
Officials said the district suspended Harrison when the allegations came to light.
“I’d like to commend the victim in this case, who has exhibited so much bravery coming forward years after she was preyed upon. Her courage will give other victims of similar abuse the strength to come forward,” the police commissioner said.
Harrison, now 46, will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Central Islip. Attorney information for him was not immediately available.
The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are encouraging anyone else who feels they’ve been victimized to come forward.
This isn’t the first allegation to rock the Babylon school district.
Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James ordered an investigation into the district after students at Babylon High School held a walkout to support former students who accused teachers and coaches of sexual abuse, NBC New York reported. That investigation is ongoing.
While efforts to reach officials at the high school were unsuccessful Friday, Superintendent Linda Rozzi said in a statement that the district was aware of Harrison’s arrest.
“Upon first learning of this alleged inappropriate behavior in November 2021, the district acted immediately by removing the individual from his classroom, reassigning him to his residence, removing all privileges, and immediately notifying law enforcement authorities,” she said, noting the district conducted its own internal investigation.
Rozzi called the allegations “extremely disturbing,” adding the district has “no tolerance towards such heinous acts.”
“We will continue to make the safety and well-being of our students and staff our top priority,” she said.