A middle school principal in Fairfax County has been charged with not reporting a complaint of suspected sexual abuse of a student, the second time in less than a year that a principal in the school district has been accused of a similar crime, authorities announced Thursday.

Yusef Azimi, principal of Thoreau Middle School in Vienna, was arrested Wednesday in connection with allegedly not telling police and child protective services about a report in October that a teacher had inappropriate contact with a student at the school, police said.

“He’s a mandatory reporter under the law,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said of Azimi.

The misdemeanor charge was filed against Azimi, 41, of McLean, after a nearly year-long investigation of the teacher, Matthew Snell. Snell was charged in October with carnal knowledge of a child and taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial relationship.

The investigation began after the parents of a child at the school discovered troubling text messages between Snell and the student, police said. Snell was arrested in Texas while trying to flee the country, authorities said.

After the first allegation became public, Snell was charged in November with a second count of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial relationship after another teenager came forward with allegations, police said.

In a letter to the families of students at Thoreau, FCPS Assistant Superintendent Douglas A. Tyson wrote Thursday that officials were “saddened and distressed” by the charge against Azimi. Tyson wrote that Azimi had been placed on leave as of November 2019.

“FCPS takes this matter seriously and an FCPS Human Resources administrative investigation was conducted concurrently with the police investigation,” Tyson wrote.

FCPS officials said they began retraining staff on the reporting requirements late last year. And Karl Frisch, the Providence District Representative on the Fairfax County School Board, wrote in an email that the board also took action on the issue.

“Earlier this month, the School Board voted unanimously to strengthen our abuse and neglect reporting policy for staff because we know there is nothing more important than safeguarding the health and safety of our students,” Frisch wrote.

No attorney was listed for Azimi in court records, and he did not immediately respond to a message left at a phone number listed for him. Azimi was released from the Fairfax County jail Wednesday after posting a $3,000 bond.

Bloom’s lawyer, Peter Greenspun, said his client planned to fight the charge at trial.

“This matter has been pending for far too long. Scott Bloom looks forward to his trial and the dismissal of this outrageous and false charge,” Greenspun said. “He is anxious to be able to get back to his work as an educator.”

Source Article