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Ex-Spg Gardens teacher accused of underage sex

TimesLedger Newspapers

A former music teacher at IS 59 in Springfield Gardens who lavished expensive gifts upon a teenage girl he met in his wife’s Brooklyn church choir was arrested last week on charges he carried on a sexual relationship with the girl, officials said.

Vaughn McKinney, 58, was removed from the classroom at IS 59 in June after a report by the city special commissioner of investigation’s office recommended its findings to the Brooklyn and Queens district attorneys’ offices, according to the city Department of Education.

“He has already been removed from the school, and we are seeking his termination,” a DOE spokesman said.

The SCI is part of the city Department of Investigation and operates independently of the DOE.

McKinney is still receiving his $83,642 salary while the department proceeds through the notoriously lengthy and contentious process of arbitration. And while the teacher has been charged with third-degree rape — intercourse with someone under the age of 16 — SCI investigators were unable to determine if the girl was 16 or 17 when the sexual relationship began.

McKinney began working as a regular substitute teacher in Brooklyn in 1993 and was appointed to his position at IS 59 in 2002.

His wife, a teacher in Brooklyn, was a longtime member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, where the girl had been in the choir for about four years.

The investigation began in March when the girl was 17. The student’s mother contacted SCI and said she first learned of the relationship when contacted by her church pastor, according to the office’s report. She discovered that McKinney had been paying her daughter for sex since she was 16, but the girl refused to cooperate when her parents took her to the police, the report said.

The girl’s parents and her pastor became suspicious when she started showing up with new clothes and an iPad.

When confronted by her father, the teenager told him the relationship began when she told McKinney she wanted a new phone, but could not afford it.

McKinney told her, “If I get you the cellphone, you know what you have to do for it,” the father told investigators.

The girl told investigators she had sex with McKinney 12 to 15 times during the year, including illicit rendezvous at his Brooklyn home on Sundays when his wife was gone as well as at the Surfside Motel in Howard Beach.

The alleged relationship had ended by January.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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