A music teacher at a school in Springfield Gardens was arrested for allegedly maintaining a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Vaughn McKinney, 58, is accused of starting a relationship with the female student when she was 16 after the two met through a Brooklyn church choir group, led by McKinney’s wife, according to a report from the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI). The student attends school in Brooklyn, and McKinney has been the music teacher at I.S. 59 in Springfield Gardens since 2002.
The investigation began in March of 2012, when the girl’s mother went to the SCI office to report an inappropriate relationship between her daughter and McKinney. He was arrested on Thursday, December 20.
“I can’t believe he was at this school,” said Ryan Hilton, whose nephew attends I.S. 59. “I’m glad they finally got him.”
The girl’s mother alleged that after meeting, her daughter spoke with McKinney about needing a job, and the Springfield teacher said he would give her money in exchange for sex. This allegedly continued, and McKinney also provided her with a cell phone, on which the two communicated, gave her an iPod and money to buy clothes, according to the report.
The student’s mother also met with McKinney’s wife, Patricia, on numerous occasions after Patricia found a telephone invoice in her husband’s belongings with the young girl’s name on it. Patricia reached out to the mother, and the two met and discussed suspicions of a sexual relationship between McKinney and the minor.
The minor’s mother claims to have known about the relationship since November 2011, but did not report it immediately out of fear. The father, divorced from the mother, brought the girl to their local police station, but she refused to cooperate with police because she was afraid, according to the report.
Officials at the Brooklyn church attempted to get involved and stop the inappropriate relationship, but to no avail. The student confided in Pastor Brian Pettrey about the gifts that McKinney was giving her in exchange for sex, and he responded by taking her cell phone in attempts to put an end to the affair, and by holding conferences with her mother.
When interviewed by the SCI, McKinney confirmed that he bought the student an iPod and a cell phone, but only because he “felt sorry for [her and she] complained about not having things that other kids her age had.”
He also confirmed to having multiple sexual encounters with her when she was 17, but did not report to having done so past January 2012. In June 2012, the minor was still using a cell phone given to her by McKinney.
The matter will now be prosecuted by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Education is currently seeking McKinney’s termination.