NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After a two-week trial and two days of deliberations, a federal jury has returned a verdict finding that a special education aide employed by the Darien Board of Education sexually abused a 12-year-old Darien student with Down Syndrome (John Doe) in a Darien elementary school. John Doe and his parents were represented by Gary S. Mayerson, Maria C. McGinley and Jacqueline DeVore of Mayerson and Associates, a NYC law firm that specializes in representing students with developmental disabilities. The special education aide is Zachary Hasak, the nephew of Darien's then Director of Special Education, Robin Pavia.
In 2009-10, Darien police conducted an investigation into the matter and then submitted a warrant for Hasak's arrest to the Senior Assistant State's Attorney in Stamford – unfortunately for those involved, he refused to sign the arrest warrant. In the meantime, the Darien School District conducted its own internal investigation into the matter. Upon conclusion of the school district's internal investigation, Mr. Hasak was reinstated as a special education aide, at which point he again served as an aide for children with disabilities in the Darien schools.
Central to the evidence presented to the jury was a videotaped interview of the student conducted at the time by the Lower Fairfield County Sexual Assault Response Team, or SART. In an unexpected revelation, Dr. Steven Falcone, Darien's Assistant Superintendent at the time, admitted at the trial that the videotaped SART interview of the student's account was neither viewed nor considered as part of the school district's internal investigation prior to Mr. Hasak being reinstated by the Darien schools.
Mr. Hasak testified at the trial and denied all of the allegations against him. He also denied having lied to the jury under oath and during his sworn deposition.
The jury returned a unanimous "yes" verdict on the question of whether Mr. Hasak had sexually abused John Doe. The jury thus accepted the account of the student with the disability and rejected the testimony of more than a half dozen current and former employees of the Darien school system, all of whom had dismissed the student's allegations of abuse.
John Doe's family hailed the jury's verdict as an advancement of the rights of people with disabilities, demonstrating that when a child with a disability alleges they were sexually abused, their words must be given the same weight and consideration as that of an allegation made by a child without a disability. Gary Mayerson, the firm's founder and lead attorney at the trial, stated: "The jury's courageous verdict both validated and vindicated the value of John Doe's compelling words and underscored the need to investigate and address all claims of abuse, regardless of their source."
To arrange for a personal interview with either John Doe's father and/or Gary Mayerson, contact Greg Czarnowski with The Kunian Group: T: 781-893-3389 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Mayerson and Associates