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An instructor at a midtown high school was arrested Tuesday on sex abuse charges for allegedly forcibly touching a 14-year-old student in a sexual manner -- the sixth such incident involving a New York City public school employee in recent weeks, police said.
Darryl Lynch, an employee of the High School of Graphic Communication Arts on West 49th Street, was charged with forcible touching, sexual abuse and acting in a manner to injure a child under 17 for the incident on Feb. 8.
According to a police source, Lynch, 55, of Bridgeport, Conn., grabbed the girl from behind, touching her breasts and groin over her clothing. He did this after the student came to his office to retrieve a book bag she left there during a field trip, the source said. The teen yelled and told him to stop, and Lynch stopped, the source said.
The student told a guidance counselor about the incident on Tuesday and the counselor told the principal, who called the police, the source said.
Last week, a fifth city school employee was arrested and accused of sex abuse involving students -- giving parents the impression that sexual misconduct has been on the rise in public schools.
But according to data from the city's Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation, complaints about sexual misconduct in schools are on the downswing.
In 2007, students made 619 complaints about sexually questionable conduct by school employees. Last year that number was down to 561 complaints, a 9 percent decrease.
Still, a spate of recent cases has raised concerns. Two weeks ago, a Bronx substitute teacher was charged with forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.
Also in February, a 49-year-old computer teacher at PS 174 in Rego Park, Queens, was arrested on allegations he sexually abused two young boys at the school.
Additionally, a teacher's aide at PS 243 in Brooklyn was arrested for allegedly abusing children, including making pornography with them, and another teacher's aide at PS 87 on the Upper West Side was arrested Feb. 10 on suspicion he sexually abused a child at the school.