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The assistant director of the Friendship School in Waterford was arraigned in New London Superior Court Tuesday on charges she had a sexual relationship with a middle school student 10 years ago while working as a school psychologist in East Lyme.
Allison Robinson, 35, who was known then as Allison Hitte, allegedly provided the boy and his friends with alcohol and nitrous oxide (an inhalant) and had sex with him in her office at the middle school, her car, state parks and forests and her parents' home in Rhode Island.
Thomas Simones of Waterford, the attorney of the alleged victim, now a 24-year-old man who is incarcerated on unrelated assault charges, said his client told him about the incidents in February. Simones contacted police, who charged Robinson with second-degree sexual assault last week after interviewing the man, his classmates from the middle school, Robinson's former roommate and Robinson.
Robinson, who lives in New London, was placed on unpaid administrative leave after the administration at LEARN, a regional education center that oversees the Friendship School, was notified of the pending charges. The Friendship School is a magnet school for preschool and kindergarten students in Waterford and New London.
At the arraignment, a judge transferred the case to the upper level court where major crimes are tried and continued it to May 2. Robinson, who is free on a $50,000 bond, has retained Norman A. Pattis, a Bethany defense attorney.
In a phone interview later Tuesday, Pattis said the case, laid out by state police detective Joseph Masson in a nine-page arrest warrant affidavit, reads like a work of fiction.
"It is pure lurid fantasy and reads like a bad version of 'Hot for Teacher' (a 1984 Van Halen song)," Pattis said. "We look forward to meeting this young man under oath in open court. The allegations arose in the course of another investigation, and we view this as a diversionary tactic."
Simones, the attorney of the alleged victim, could not be reached for comment.
The alleged victim said the relationship started when he was in seventh grade and participated in an anger management group with Robinson. He said he began flirting with Robinson "because she was pretty and she was cool" and that she never told him to stop. They began a physical relationship in the school's counseling office, he said, and he "hung out" with her a lot at her house and at school.
According to the warrant, former classmates of the alleged victim told the investigators that Robinson allowed the then 13- or 14-year-old boy to drive her car. They said Robinson would drop off beer for them, but would never "party" with them. She would pick them up after they had been drinking and take them out to eat, the former classmates said.
The brother of the alleged victim told police that when their mother found out about the affair, the alleged victim begged her not to take action "because he loved the teacher and all she was doing for him," according to the warrant.
Robinson denied to police numerous times that she had had a sexual relationship with the teenager and said she had reported his threatening behavior toward her to school administrators. She said near the end of the interview that "the victim raped her in the Giants Neck park during the summer of 2001," according to the affidavit.
The investigators contacted school officials, who said they did not recall any reports from Robinson that the teenager was threatening her. Robinson was a psychologist at the middle school during the 2000-2001 school year. She left her position to take a job with the Groton Public Schools and was subsequently employed at the Friendship School.
Robinson's arrest is the second one involving a school employee who allegedly had an illegal sexual relationship with an East Lyme student. It is illegal for teachers to have sex with students and for adults to have sex with minors.
Amy L. Schneider, 25, was charged last month with having sex with a 17-year-old high school student last fall while working as an assistant band director at the high school and a middle school music teacher. She resigned from her position last week, according to school officials. Her case is pending in the same court as Robinson's.