A contract employee at a D.C. Montessori school is accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl, prompting D.C. to suspend all before and after school programs run by the company for which he worked.
According to the victim, beginning in January and continuing into May, 21-year-old Jestin Hickman would arrange meetings with her after hours at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, where Hickman oversaw the aftercare program, police said. Hickman would kiss the victim on the mouth and inappropriately touch her.
Hickman told police he would kiss the girl and exchange explicit text messages and videos with her in a stairwell at the school, according to court documents.
“Youth deserve a safe environment in which to learn, and incidents like what happened at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan violate their sense of security,” said D.C. Councilman David Grosso, who chairs the Committee on Education. “We must redouble our efforts to prevent these violations.”
Hickman, who no longer works at the school, is charged with second-degree child sex abuse.
D.C. suspended the before and after school programs by Springboard Education, which employed Hickman. Three Maryland schools also suspended Springboard.
The investigation revealed Springboard was unable to provide the required criminal background check information for many of its employees.
Springboard fired Hickman, according to a statement from a company executive.
"We are in the process of conducting our own internal investigation into this matter, including a comprehensive review of our policies and practices to identify areas where we can improve to ensure similar incidents do not occur in the future," the statement said.
More than 200 parents signed a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser demanding to know why District officials didn't know Springboard wasn't following District regulations.
Parents also are upset that they didn't learn until June about the inappropriate conduct discovered in May.
In a list of frequently asked questions, D.C. Public Schools said, "We rely on guidance from MPD regarding when information about a pending investigation can be shared with the public and the nature of the information that can be shared. We are working with MPD to ensure there is better understanding and coordination between our agencies around when information about an investigation can be shared with the public by DCPS."
DCPS said it will review whether Springboard will continue its programs next school year.