Convent of the Sacred Heart teacher faces sexual assault charges

School officials at Convent of the Sacred Heart said they were shocked by the arrest on Tuesday of longtime teacher Michael Maida for sexual assault.

Mr. Maida, a 44-year-old resident of Danbury, reportedly surrendered himself to police custody on Tuesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest on March 3 by the Stamford Superior Court. He was charged with two class B felonies, second degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. The Greenwich Police Department did not release specific details about the nature of the charges except to say that they were the result of an investigation into “alleged past inappropriate contact” between Mr. Maida and a child then under the age of 16.

Convent of the Sacred Heart is an all-girls private school in Greenwich and police said that the student was under Mr. Maida’s instruction when the incident, which the school said allegedly took place in the fall of 2009, reportedly happened. Police said they would not be releasing any further information at this time due to the confidentiality provided to sexual assault victims.

The school released a letter to parents on Tuesday from Head of School Pamela Juan Hayes, calling this a “difficult and sensitive” situation. The school said it was informed on Jan. 23 that there was an investigation into the alleged incident between Mr. Maida and the student, who is no longer at the school.

The school said once informed it placed Mr. Maida, who has been with the Convent of the Sacred Heart for 17 years and is a math instructor there, on administrative leave and contacted the state’s Department of Children and Families, per its established policy.

Ms. Hayes said that Mr. Maida has “unequivocally denied” that an incident, which the school said it had no prior knowledge of, took place.

“The safety of our students is our highest priority and we take all allegations of misconduct seriously,” Ms. Hayes said in the letter.

Ms. Hayes added that the school was cooperating fully with the investigation and would remain focused on “maintaining a safe and welcoming environment” for students. She noted the school’s process for reporting any allegations of suspicious behavior without fear of retaliation or retribution and said a special committee was being formed to study those existing policies and procedures to make sure they are sufficient.

“The school is deeply troubled by this shocking allegation but will reserve judgment, as we all must, until the facts are made available through the important legal process now under way,” Ms. Hayes said.

The school said it would hold a special meeting for parents on Wednesday, March 12, with the school’s psychologist to advise them on how to talk about the arrest with their children.

Ms. Hayes said the school was not in a position to share more information about the alleged incident or Mr. Maida’s arrest and that “out of respect for the legal process and in order to be fair to all involved” the school would not be making any further comment.

Mr. Maida was released on a $50,000 surety bond and is due in Stamford Superior Court on Tuesday, March 18.

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