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Crime/Courts

February 28, 2013

District assures children’s safety

NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano released a statement Wednesday about allegations in a lawsuit filed against him and the school district last week in regard to a former NPS employee charged with sexual abuse to a child.

Christopher Flores, 30, of Norman, a former NPS teacher’s aide, was charged earlier this month with two counts of lewd or indecent acts to a 9-year-old boy. In an interview with police detectives, Flores admitted to committing the acts on three separate occasions, according to the affidavit filed with the charges.

NPS spokeswoman Shelly Hickman said the recent charges against Flores have no connection to the school district. Flores allegedly molested a relative’s son.

“As the superintendent of Norman Public Schools, I assure this community the safety and security of students is of the utmost priority to us,” Siano said. “We have strict policy and procedures for when parents or faculty members report abuse of a student. We take immediate action, notifying law enforcement and the Department of Human Services and fully cooperate with those entities in their investigations.”

The lawsuit alleges that Flores and former NPS teacher Carolyn Shave abused children in their special needs class. Parents said they have been complaining about Flores and Shave since 2002.

Several lawsuits also were filed against the district regarding the former employees since complaints began in 2002. Three of those were federal lawsuits, which the district settled out of court. The other was a state lawsuit.

The recent lawsuit brings up allegations that were brought forth in those previous lawsuits. It also alleges that Siano and the school district knowingly and purposefully kept information about abuse from being made know to parents.

The lawsuit made further allegations that NPS did not properly supervise and train Flores and Shave and negligently rehired them after they were placed on notice of harm to children in Shave’s classroom.

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