A former dean at a Mastery charter school in West Philadelphia has been charged with statutory rape involving a 14-year-old girl.
The 42-year-old man raped the girl who was an eighth-grade student at Harrity Elementary School at 5601 Christian St. during the previous school year.
The dean, who has been identified as Omar Harrison, gave the girl a ride at the end of the school year, to a hotel in Tinicum Township near Philadelphia International Airport where the crime was committed, police revealed.
The officials at Mastery Charter Schools revealed that they learned of the alleged crime sometime last Friday after the girl’s mother came to the school to confront Omar Harrison.
“At that time, we suspended Harrison, started an internal investigation, and began supporting the police in their investigation. We have since terminated his employment,” Mastery said.
“Inappropriate contact with students – of any kind – is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated at Mastery,” the statement said.
The perpetrator, who’s from Cheltenham, was arrested on Wednesday by Tinicum Township police and also was charged with involuntary deviate sexual assault, sexual assault, and indecent sexual assault with someone under the age of 16-years.
Harrison was being held at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County on $100,000 bail. The Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit is urging anyone with information related to the case to contact them at 215-685-3268 or 215-685-3263.
A statement released by Mastery, which is a nonprofit charter school network, revealed that every employee is required to undergo “a rigorous screening process, including fingerprinting, FBI and state background checks. In addition, all staff members must complete training on appropriate student relationships and must sign off on our policy regarding proper and improper relationships with students.”
The institution also revealed that as it goes forward, it will use the incident to re-evaluate its safety and staff screening and training processes so as to ensure that it takes all necessary precautions to protect its students’ safety and well-being.