A private Jewish school in Baltimore County says it has parted ways with a teacher who was disciplined by the state psychology board after a patient in his private practice alleged he acted inappropriately toward her.
The announcement that Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School had severed ties with high school teacher Jonathan Lasson came days after the Pikesville school announced they fired another teacher, Rabbi Shmuel Krawatsky, who had been accused of sexual abuse at a camp in Frederick County. Krawatsky has denied those allegations and has not been charged.
The president of the school’s board of trustees said in an email to the school community this week that its executive committee had “determined that Dr. Lasson would no longer work at Beth Tfiloh.” The school hired Lasson in the middle of last school year. He taught Judaics and neuroscience, according to a post on the school website.
“We are disappointed to have learned that Dr. Lasson entered a Consent Order with the Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists, in connection with his adult psychology practice, in late 2017, well after he was hired by Beth Tfiloh,” board president Joel Cohn wrote in the email. “Dr. Lasson did not disclose to Beth Tfiloh the Board of Examiner’s investigation or his subsequent Consent Order. Instead, Beth Tfiloh learned of it from a blog post.”
Cohn wrote that the school conducted a background check of Lasson when he was hired “per our usual protocol and screening of new hires.”
“Dr. Lasson was clear,” Cohn wrote.
Lasson did not respond to messages seeking comment.
A spokeswoman for the school told The Baltimore Sun that administrators would not comment further on Lasson. She said the board removed him last week.
Administrators said last week that they had fired Krawatsky after The New York Jewish Week published allegations that he sexually abused boys at a camp in Frederick County.
The Frederick County sheriff’s office said it investigated the accusations and did not bring charges against the rabbi. Krawatsky’s attorney said he denies the allegations.
The consent order involving Lasson is dated Oct. 3, 2017, and is posted on the state psychology board’s website. A female patient complained to the state board about him in 2015, according to the order.
Before Lasson began treating her, the order shows, the patient was his student at a college in Baltimore in 2011. The board did not name the college in the order.
The patient said Lasson “did a number of things that made her uncomfortable during the course of treatment,” including sharing inappropriate information about himself, sitting very close to her on a couch, and holding sessions late at night, the order states.
She also said he hugged her on a number of occasions, “violating the norms of their Orthodox Jewish community regarding physical contact between unrelated men and women.”
The patient complained about Lasson to a rabbi, the state board said, and Lasson was asked to meet with community leaders. He was then placed on “a community-imposed probation of sorts,” with restrictions on his practice.
Under the consent order, Lasson’s registration was placed on probation for at least two years, with credit for one year under his community-imposed probation. He was required to complete an ethics tutorial and obtain ongoing clinical supervision.
Sara Rosenberg said she e-mailed school administrators, teachers and others related to Beth Tfiloh a link to the consent order on Dec. 22. Rosenberg, a member of the group Jewish Parents for Safe Yeshivos who said she is a friend of the woman who filed the complaint, also posted information about the consent order on her group’s Facebook page.
“I feel like it’s virtually impossible not to know,” Rosenberg said of Beth Tfiloh school officials. “And if they didn’t know, someone wasn’t doing their job.”
Lasson worked for more than a decade in the Baltimore school system as a psychologist. In 2013, then-acting schools CEO Tisha Edwards recommended the school board terminate his employment, according to documents posted on the Maryland Department of Education website.
School officials alleged he abused sick leave at his city schools post while working another job at Stevenson University, according to the documents. Lasson appealed the termination, and the case went to the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings.
Administrative Law Judge Neile S. Friedman recommended upholding the termination. Friedman wrote in an opinion that Lasson had excessive absences from work and was absent “without proper notice or authority.”
“In addition, he was dishonest about his ability to work and he submitted misleading and untrue doctor’s notes, all of which constituted serious misconduct justifying corrective action, including termination,” Friedman wrote.