CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The four students who accused a Cranston High School West science teacher of sexual assault offered similar details of the alleged incidents to police in an affidavit filed to search through the teacher’s personnel file.
Charles Pearson, 58, has not entered a plea to 12 counts of second-degree sexual assault. But in a statement from his attorney, John E. MacDonald, released after his arrest, Pearson adamantly denied any inappropriate conduct.
MacDonald did not respond to a request for comment for this report.
According to the affidavit, a 16-year old identified as victim one told police that during a January conversation with Pearson outside his classroom, he “at first smacked my butt, but went for squeezing it afterwards for a couple of seconds,” then laughed.
Police began investigating the allegations in late March, and at that point the document indicates a second alleged victim came forward, claiming Pearson had become, “touchy feely, ultimately poking her in her breasts,” four to ten different times.
“Pearson would hug her goodbye and place his hands on her chest and grab her breasts,” the affidavit said.
The document includes statements from a third alleged victim who told police Pearson “forcefully placed his hand on her buttocks” three different times.
The fourth alleged victim said “she had been touched by Pearson in a way she did not like” approximately 10 times.
“V4 states that Pearson has touched her buttocks multiple other times, be it in the back of class while students were watching a projector, and while giving hugs,” the affidavit said.
The misdemeanor case file for Cranston School Department psychologist George Blessing, who is charged under the state’s Duty To Report Sexual Abuse statute, indicates a freshman alleged Blessing did not report her claim about Pearson to police.
Blessing, who like Pearson was placed on administrative leave with pay after the incidents surfaced, claims he offered to report the allegations.
“I asked her if she would like to talk to an administrator to file a complaint. She refused,” Blessing wrote on a Cranston police statement form.
Blessing’s attorney, Jason Knight, said he and his client are confident in their case.
“My client maintains his innocence,” Knight said. “He looks forward to having his day in court. I think at the end of the [process], he’ll be vindicated,”
According to a memorandum filed by the state in Blessing’s file, this is “a case of first impression as Rhode Island Courts have yet to examine and apply” the law.