The administrators at John Muir Elementary School had no idea that one of their school rules was being exploited by a child predator.Screenshot/KOMO News
As KOMO News reports, 40-year-old Albert Virachismith worked as a teacher’s aide at John Muir Elementary in Seattle during the 2016-2017 school year. Now he is in jail, charged with child molestation and rape of a second-grader in the school.
Virachismith allegedly attacked the child about six times, threatening his victim with violence if anyone found out. According to the Seattle Times, prosecutors say Virachismith took advantage of a school rule that made it easy to isolate his victim and carry out the attacks. Court documents state:
The defendant, because of his professional role, was well aware of the rule that only one student was allowed in the bathroom. The defendant knew that the young victim would be alone and isolated in the bathroom. This knowledge allowed and empowered the defendant to sexually assault the second grader uninterrupted and undetected.
For an entire year, Virachismith’s attacks continued, undiscovered. It wasn’t until he left the school that his young victim told his parents what had happened. The parents then contacted the police. As one prosecutor noted in a case summary:
It was only after the defendant stopped working at the victim’s school that the victim felt safe enough to report to his father what had happened.
However, in the interim, Virachismith had gone on to work as a substitute teacher at nine other schools in the district. Aware that Virachismith had access to thousands of children in that time, investigators are now looking into the possibility that students at those schools were also targeted.
The schools have notified parents and are helping the police in the investigation. According to KOMO, in a letter sent to families of John Muir students, Principal Brenda Ball Cuthbertson wrote:
This is difficult news, and we understand you will want to talk to your child about this case. We want to do everything possible to help the police conduct a thorough investigation.
The SPD asks parents to avoid asking leading questions that could interfere with the police investigation. If your student indicates on their own that he or she may have been touched inappropriately, contact [Seattle police].
Virachismith is awaiting his arraignment, scheduled for February 15. He is currently being held on a $500,000 bond.
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