Accused school aide did previous crime
Gregory Keau had pleaded guilty in an earlier case of assault
When McKinley High School teacher's assistant Gregory Keau was charged this week with the sexual assault of a special-education student, it was the second time he was in trouble with the law.
Two years after he started working for the Department of Education in 2001, Keau pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault in Family Court and was sentenced to one year's probation and six days' jail. He was allowed to serve the jail time on weekends.
No one in the department knew about the previous case.
Employees are supposed to report convictions that could affect their employment, department spokeswoman Sandy Goya said. But even if Keau did report his conviction, he could not have been terminated, according to state law, until after an appropriate investigation and after being given an opportunity to rebut the findings.
Keau, 30, is charged with one count each of first- and second-degree sexual assault and two counts of fourth- degree sexual assault. The charges stem from the alleged assaults of a 17-year-old special-education student on May 16 and another time between March 1 and April 2.
When the DOE hired Keau in 2001, he had just one criminal conviction on his record, for operating a vehicle without a driver's license, Goya said. The misdemeanor conviction did not disqualify him from employment, she said.
State law requires the DOE to develop procedures for getting verifiable information regarding the criminal history not just of job applicants, but also of people who are already employed.
Schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto may review procedures and initiate employee background checks a couple of times a year, Goya said.