The city Department of Education is asking a judge to overturn an arbitration decision finding that a DOE social worker should get his job back despite allegations that he repeatedly sexually abused his ex-girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter, new court papers show.
Bishme Allah — who had worked at the DOE for 8 years and was tenured — was accused of groping the girl over her clothes on her breasts, butt and vagina on multiple occasions over the span of two years beginning around 2012, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed Thursday.
She also claimed that Allah told her to sit on his lap, that he pushed her onto a bed and rubbed against her while they were both wearing clothes and that he rubbed his clothed erect penis against her clothed butt, the court papers allege.
But the arbitrator tasked with deciding whether Allah should be disciplined by the DOE found that the charges were unsubstantiated and cleared him.
Allah, 37, denied all the allegations, the court documents say.
The pre-teen’s allegations only surfaced in 2017 after she answered a questionnaire at the nurses office at her school divulging the information, the suit says.
The girl hesitated to come forward because “she did not want to give [her] mother problems,” especially given that her mom had a child with Allah and given that the child was the victim’s younger half-sister, the court papers say.
Allah was criminally charged but the case was dropped after a case wasn’t brought before a Grand Jury within the required window, the filing claims.
Still, a family court did find Allah guilty of child abuse in December 2019 after the Administrative Child Services brought charges against him, according to the court documents.
Then, DOE watchdog the Special Commissioner of Investigations concluded that Allah “inappropriately and sexually abused” the victim prompting the DOE to hold an arbitration hearing.
After the April hearing, Officer James McKeever issued a decision on Sept. 13 clearing Allah and recommending that he return to his job as a social worker at the East River Academy where he served young people who are incarcerated at Rikers Island. McKeever also ordered that Allah receive back pay, the suit says.
McKeever said the DOE “has not proven any of the misconduct,” according to his decision included with the suit.
McKeever said this is because the victim — now an adult — didn’t testify and he “could not assess her credibility” and because Allah, “was denied the ability to cross-examine [her], which is an essential principle of due process,” the decision said.
McKeever also said the hearing evidence consisted of hearsay instead of direct evidence and that the victim couldn’t remember a specific date or year of when the incidents allegedly occurred.
The DOE says McKeever shouldn’t have made the decision simply, “because the DOE did not force the former student to appear at hearing and recount the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of [Allah},” according to the filing.
The city is now asking a judge to set aside McKeever’s findings claiming he “exceeded his authority” with his “arbitrary and capricious” decision.
“The Department of Education has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” City Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci said in a statement. “We’re fighting to overturn a decision that is wrong on the law and disregarded credible evidence of sexual abuse.”
McKeever and Allah’s union both did not immediately return requests for comment.
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