Treme charter school teachers accused of possessing child porn, failure to report abuse

Teachers arrested
Nicole Kusmirek (Source: OPSO)
Nicole Kusmirek (Source: OPSO)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Two educators at a Treme charter school have been arrested, accused of possessing child pornography and failing to report child sexual abuse.

According to the attorney for Success Preparatory Academy second-in-command Nicole Kusmirek and Director of Culture Shayla Shane, back in April the teachers discovered a video that showed a female 8th grade student being coerced into performing oral sex on at least three 8th grade boys in a school bathroom.

Attorney Nandi Campbell said Shane was worried that the student who recorded the incident would post it to social media, so Shane transferred the video to her phone to save as evidence and deleted it from the student's phone.

"The case itself is overkill as it relates to what they charged the teachers with," Cambell said. "This was not an attempt by these teachers to cover up the video or cover up anything that happened. What they were trying to prevent is for this video to leave the doors of this school and potentially get in the hands of a bunch of students via social media or Snapchat or just texting."

Neither Shane nor Kusmirek reported it to New Orleans police or Child Services, but they did contact the parents of all of the teenagers involved. Cambell said the school notified NOPD the next day. One of the parents of the students involved also contacted police.

Campbell said she questions whether the teachers were required to report it to authorities.  She also takes issue with claims that the girl was forced to perform oral sex on some of the other students. She said if the students consented, there may be no crime and nothing to report.

"They know that they are mandatory reporters and they understand their duty and that they didn't believe there was a reason to report it to law enforcement or child services," Cambell.

"Anybody like teachers physicians, dentists, computer operators who see it on their screen, anybody who sees something like that has a duty a legal duty to report it. and if they don't report it that's a crime," Fox 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti said.

Any time there is a video recording of a child involved in a sexual act a crime has occurred, according to Raspanti.

Mandatory reporters must immediately notify Child Services or the authorities if they witness neglect or abuse of a child, according to state law.

Both teachers were booked on the above charges, with Shane additionally facing obstruction of justice. Both have bonded out of jail. Kusmirek's bond was $2,500, while Shane's was $5,000.

Campbell said both educators came to New Orleans with Teach for America.

She also said neither Kusmirek nor Shane had any intention of breaking the law and she fears her clients' careers are in jeopardy.

"It's a hard pill, and I feel like there was opportunities for [NOPD] to push back and say let's discuss it and they were not open to having that conversation at all," Cambell said.

NOPD would not discuss the case because it's an ongoing investigation.

Success Preparatory Academy released the following statement:

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