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Illicit CP - September 2004

Corpun file 14172

New York Daily News, 30 September 2004

Principal covered up hazing: prober

By Kathleen Lucadamo
Daily News Staff Writer

A high school fraternity member was beaten and burned in a bizarre hazing ritual that a Brooklyn principal tried to cover up, investigators said yesterday.

The Education Department said it would seek to fire the official, Thomas Baskin-Bey of the Street Academy.

An 18-year-old student at the small alternative school in Bedford-Stuyvesant was promised help getting into Wesleyan University in Connecticut if he participated in a ritual for his frat, Omega Gamma Delta, according to a report by Richard Condon, special investigator for city schools.

The young man was taken alone to woods near a frat house in Pompton Lakes, N.J., in the summer of 2003, Condon's report said.

The fraternity head, Robert Tarleton, an adult who does not work at the school, repeatedly paddled the youth's bare buttocks and then rubbed an irritating oil on his private parts, causing the teen to run into a nearby lake for relief, Condon said.

The national fraternity operated its Street Academy chapter with Baskin-Bey's permission. Tarleton conducted weekly meetings with the 25 Omega members in the principal's office, Condon said.

"It's an outrage that the principal gave this person free rein at the school," Condon said.

After hearing a news report about a hazing scandal on Long Island, the young man last fall told his traumatic tale to Baskin-Bey, who banned Tarleton from the school.

But the principal convinced a dean, James Lavali, to "water down" an incident report and delete any references to sexual abuse, Condon said. The principal also lied that he had notified a senior superintendent about the incident when he had not, Condon said.

Baskin-Bey escorted the student to the Brooklyn district attorney's office, but the young man did not want to pursue criminal charges.

When school bosses wised up in January, they transferred Baskin-Bey to regional offices and contacted Condon, school officials said.

"We will take all appropriate steps to implement the special commissioner's recommendation to terminate the employee," Education Department spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said yesterday.

Baskin-Bey, Tarleton and Lavali could not be reached for comment.

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