Brooklyn Teacher Aide To Be Arraigned Today on Molestation Charges
By Karen Matthews
CADMAN PLAZA EAST — A teacher’s aide who was indicted on molestation charges last week is set to be arraigned this morning at 11 a.m. in Downtown Brooklyn.
A federal grand jury indicted Taleek Brooks, a 40-year-old teacher’s aid at Public School 243, also known as the Weeksville School and located in Crown Heights, on charges of molesting a boy and distributing child pornography. He has been remanded in jail without bail pending today’s arraignment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Brooks was arrested last month after FBI agents said they found homemade child pornography on his computer. The indictment charges Brooks with sexually assaulting the boy in seven images found in the computer files.
It alleges that the attacks occurred in 2009 and 2010. Investigators say they believe the pictures were taken inside the Brooklyn school where Brooks worked.
FBI agents reportedly found Brooks in a chat room last year saying he was “interested in black boys 10 years old and older.”
Brooks worked at P.S. 223 since 1995. His attorney is Michael Weil.
Following the arrest, parents at the elementary school struggled to square the lurid accusations with the caring educator they thought they knew. In the days that followed, parents bringing their children to school said they were shocked by the allegations.
“He seemed nice. He seemed genuine,” said Thea Williams, who dropped her 7-year-old daughter off.
Williams also has a 12-year-old son who graduated from the school, and after she learned of Brooks’ arrest she asked both children if they had ever been alone with the aide. They said no.
Vickie Chiaramonte said Brooks worked with her 9-year-old grandson on resolving conflicts with other children.
“He always showed him positive ways to solve problems,” said Chiaramonte, who also has a 10-year-old daughter at the school. “He was very well-spoken. He always appeared to be very concerned about the children’s well-being.”
Another grandmother who cares for her 6-year-old grandson, Charmaine Maxwell, called the charges against Brooks “disgusting” and added, “everyone believed he was such a nice person.”
The school is in a beige brick building adorned with a cheerful mural. A review posted by the independent rating organization insideschools.org lauds the school’s “tight-knit” staff but says students need a great deal of help academically and socially. Almost all of its students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and 20 percent are in special education.
In addition to serving as a teacher’s aide, Brooks was a group leader at an after-school program in the same building.
He was first hit with child pornography charges a month ago. Prosecutors said evidence included videos of Brooks spanking one naked child and fondling another in a classroom. Previously, investigators had suspected him only of trading child pornography, not producing it.
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