Disabled teen allegedly raped by employee at her Massachusetts school

News

MASSACHUSETTS (NBC News) — A 28-year-old male employee at a Massachusetts boarding and day school for disabled students faces charges in connection to the alleged rape of a 19-year-old female student. He was at large as of Friday morning.

Phillip Houtman allegedly raped the cognitively disabled student in her dorm at Chamberlain International School in Middleborough, about 35 miles south of Boston, according to a statement by Middleborough police.

The New Bedford man has been charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability, rape, assault to rape, and open and gross lewdness, police said.

Houtman remained at large on Friday morning, a police spokesman told NBC News.

The alleged rape happened on Sept. 29 at the boarding school that serves students ages 11 to 22 with cognitive and developmental disorders and disabilities, officials said. It was reported to police on Sept. 30.

Houtman worked an overnight shift at the school, but a police spokesman did not specify what his exact job was.

The school removed him from its work schedule as soon as the allegation surfaced, NBC Boston reported.

The school sent a letter to parents and guardians informing them of “a serious allegation that a staff (member) engaged in inappropriate behavior with a student,”the outlet reported.

“As a school, we wish to make it clear that the well-being and safety of all students is our top priority,” the school’s letter said.

Middleborough police said in a statement that officers are “strongly suggesting that Houtman turn himself in to police,” and that the department “is asking anyone who may see Houtman or have knowledge of his whereabouts to call the police department as soon as possible.”

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