An owner and an employee at a tutoring center in Queens have been accused of abusing and humiliating young students. Prosecutors allege that, among other abuses, the educators hit children with notebooks, deprived them of food and water, and severely limited their use of the restroom, thereby forcing a 10-year-old boy to urinate in his pants.
Min Kyung Chea, 34, and Sun Kyung Park, 33, a respective owner and employee at Little Neck tutoring center Crown Academy, were arrested yesterday and slapped with assault, attempted assault and child endangerment charges, after some of the children's caretakers expressed concern about their behavior. According to prosecutors, Chea and Park regularly abused four children between the ages of nine and 11, all of whom were from South Korea and were living with nannies and caretakers in homestays while studying in New York.
But several mothers who spoke with their children via Skype reportedly became concerned about their offspring's treatment at the hands of the Chea and Park, and one nanny made a complaint about the center to local law enforcement, prompting them to investigate further. A press release [pdf] from the Queens DA's Office reports the following:
[A]ccording to the charges, Park and Chea disciplined a 9-year-old male student at Crown Tutoring Academy on numerous occasions between January 1, 2014 and July 31, 2014, by having him hold six to eight books above his head for extending periods of time or by making him place his feet on a chair with his hands on the floor...also for long periods of time. It is additionally alleged that Park struck the student about the front of his body with a spiral notebook and when he turned around because of the pain she repeatedly him him about the back with the notebook, causing him substantial pain.
On May 21, 2014, the child's nanny allegedly observed scratches on the boy's right shoulder and numerous marks on his back when she pulled up his shirt. It is further alleged that Park also punished the child by having food and water withheld from him for a couple of days and afterwards allowed him to only eat rice for a day after that.
Chea also allegedly threw a shoebox and a backpack at one student, and Park made another 10-year-old student hold books above his head for long stretches of time. The students were also not permitted to use the bathroom more than three times in one day, and one young student urinated in his seat.
Chea told the Times that the allegations were "all lies"; a number of parents who dropped off their children at the center yesterday told the paper they had neither heard nor seen any abuse at the hands of the academy's workers. If convicted of the charges, Chea could face up to a year in jail; Park faces up to seven years in jail.