A Jarrettsville man is facing a single count of second-degree assault after allegedly biting a student at Fountain Green Elementary School, where he was teaching.
John Hickey, 52, of the 2100 block of Schuster Road, was served a criminal summons Aug. 5 in the case. The single charge of second-degree assault stems from an incident at the Bel Air area school at the end of the 2010/2011 school year.
On June 10, a 10-year-old girl, who was in fifth grade at Fountain Green, told an instructor in her after-school program that her teacher, Hickey, bit her on the arm during recess, according to charging documents.
The girl said that around 3:15 p.m. that day, she was in her classroom talking to Hickey about a math test when he allegedly grabbed her left forearm and bit her for no apparent reason, according to charging documents.
The girl told him the bite hurt and said he allegedly apologized, offered her candy in exchange for her agreeing to tell no one what happened then took a picture of the bite with his phone, according to charging documents.
The girl's friend, who was also in the room, repeated the same story, adding she overheard her friend say to the teacher, "last time you said you weren't going to do that anymore," according to charging documents.
After the girl told the after-school provider about the incident, the instructor took the girl to the school nurse. The nurse reported a 2.5-centimeter crescent-shaped, red, raised area on the girl's arm.
The girl's parent reported the incident to the Harford County Sheriff's Office June 13.
On June 23, Hickey was interviewed by sheriff's office and Child Advocacy Center detectives at the law offices of Brown, Brown and Young in Bel Air in the presence of his wife, lawyer David Carey, and members of the school system and Harford County Department of Social Services.
Hickey said in the interview that class was held inside because of high temperatures outside and one of the girls wanted to go to the bathroom.
He explained he takes the entire class to restroom breaks because his class is in a portable classroom, so he asked the girl to wait.
Several girls, including the one he is accused of biting, were reaching across his desk for the key so Hickey said he told them, "if you don't stop I'm going to bite you," according to charging documents.
When the girl, the alleged victim, reached again Hickey said he pretended to grab her arm, but did not actually bite her and did not understand why she accused him of doing so.
Hickey was not in school for the last week of school and the teacher was placed on paid administrative leave in June pending the investigation. His salary is $66,000. As of Thursday afternoon he was on administrative leave without pay, according to Teri Kranefeld, manager of communication for the school system.