Teacher , 24, is Charged with Rape for ‘Having Sex with 15-year-old Special Needs Student in a Public Park’

SCHENECTADY – A teacher’s aide from a Schenectady special education school was arrested Monday and accused of having sex with a 15-year-old student a year ago, police and prosecutors said.

Alexandra Culhane, 24, of Scotia is charged with felony rape and felony criminal sex act.

Culhane allegedly had oral sex and intercourse with a 15-year-old male student in early April 2016 in Schenectady’s Central Park, Schenectady County Assistant District Attorney John Carson said Tuesday.

Her arrest comes one week after a teacher from the same school was arrested for allegedly assaulting another teenager in the hall, state prosecutors said.

Both defendants worked at The School at Northeast, a special education school in Schenectady that serves children from grades 6 to 12. The school is run by Northern Rivers Family of Services, a child and family services conglomerate with offices 12 eastern New York counties. Northern Rivers is licensed by the state Education Department.

Staff reported Culhane’s alleged behavior to city police in 2016, Carson said. The district attorney’s office, the Schenectady Police Department and the state Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs investigated the case.

The school removed Culhane from her duties when the investigation began and then fired her in February, Northern Rivers spokesman Eugene White said Tuesday. Culhane had worked for the company for about a year.
“We constantly monitor and supervise all of our facilities,” White said. “If something happens, we want to uncover it immediately and take corrective action. … Transparency and accountability are vitally important.”

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