A New York City school district superintendent has been fired following his arrest on sex abuse and forcible touching charges in a case involving another Department of Education employee, authorities say.
Lenon Murray, 56, the community superintendent for school district no. 29 in Queens, was arrested Tuesday, police say, and was fired from the DOE the same day, officials said.
The Daily News reports that the first case of abuse happened May 2 at P.S. 35 in Hollis, when the 34-year-old victim was seated at her desk. A criminal complaint states that Murray approached her from behind as she was seated at her desk and grabbed her breasts, according to a criminal complaint.
Several weeks earlier, on April 19, he also allegedly ran his hands up and down her buttocks and fondled her, the complaint states.
The victim had repeatedly told Murrary not to touch her and to stop, the complaint said.
Murray was arraigned on the misdemeanor charges Tuesday night in Queens Criminal Court and released with a return date of June 15.
An attorney for Murray says he denies the charges and claims they are "retaliatory allegations" for a poor review of her work performance.
Murray is not commenting on the arrest, his attorney says.
Murray started working at the Department of Education in 1987 and was appointed principal at P.S. 38 in Queens in 2002, according to officials. He became community superindent in the district in 2007, and was most recently making $174,680.
He had no prior disciplinary history, officials said.
Toya Holness, a spokeswoman for DOE, said in a statement, "This alleged behavior is unacceptable and has no place in our schools. Mr. Murray's employment was immediately terminated and he was removed from our payroll."
Beverly Mitchell, the principal leadership facilitator in District 29, will serve as acting superintendent, officials say.