Glen, NY – A former New York special education teacher is facing rape charges after she was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy over an extended period of time in 2019.
Police said 39-year-old Kristin Bellinger was a special education teacher with the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES (HFM BOCES) District when she began providing in-home tutoring to the student without the school district’s knowledge, KLFY reported.
Deputies said that student told school administrators what was happening and they notified the district, the New York State Education Department, the boy’s family, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Bellinger was immediately placed on leave by the school district while an investigation was conducted, KLFY reported.
School officials said she is no longer employed by HFM BOCES, according to The Daily Gazette.
“After these disturbing allegations were brought to our attention, we took immediate steps to address them and cooperated fully with law enforcement,” HFM BOCES District Superintendent David Ziskin said in a written statement.
A warrant for Bellinger’s arrest was issued in June after a lengthy investigation by authorities, KLFY reported.
She surrendered to Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies on June 27, The Daily Gazette reported.
The teacher was arraigned Glen Town Court before the Honorable Justice James Law, KLFY reported.
She was released from custody on a $15,000 bond and scheduled to appear at a later date.
Bellinger’s attorney released a statement denying the allegations against the former special education teacher, KLFY reported.
“My client is a distinguished educator who denies any inappropriate conduct with this student,” attorney James Tyner said. “Ms. Bellinger is innocent of the sole charge filed against her and has a loving family and husband who support her.”
“These baseless allegations arose nearly a year ago, and are premised on a single accusation from years prior,” Tyner continued. “My client has been fully cooperative with law enforcement since day one – which included her voluntarily surrendering to authorities yesterday. We both look forward to defending these baseless allegations in Court and her unblemished character being restored.”
The New York State Police and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation, KLFY reported.
Authorities have said they haven’t found any indication that Bellinger was involved with any other students but have asked that other victims come forward.