Atlantic City BOE ceases investigation into teacher abuse claims weeks before victim’s mother sues

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The Atlantic City Board of Education ceased an independent investigation into the employment of a now-admitted sex offender weeks before a lawsuit by the victim’s mother named the board and at least two current administrators.

Kayan Frazier was arrested in April 2019, on charges that he created and distributed child pornography that included the sexual abuse of a then-10-year-old Pennsylvania Avenue School student.

Frazier was not working in the school district at the time of his arrest. But what led to his termination in 2017, and why the board wasn’t notified of the 2019 arrest prompted an independent investigation that started this past December.

The issue has split the board and brought allegations of political motivation from Mayor Marty Small, whose wife was principal of Pennsylvania Avenue School at the time Frazier — her cousin — worked there.

The victim’s mother filed suit Thursday, claiming the Smalls knew of Frazier’s abusive tendencies and failed to protect her child.

She also named Superintendent Barry Caldwell and the school board as defendants.

Now, the independent law firm tasked with the investigating the circumstances surrounding Frazier’s employment is on the agenda for the board’s Tuesday night meeting in executive session.

It would be at least the third time representatives of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman have been in the closed meetings with board members.

On April 27, they were told to cease all work on the investigation, BreakingAC has learned. But no formal public action has been taken.

The only public mention was that the firm already surpassed the contract’s $50,000 cap, which could effectively end the investigation without further vote.

Neither Caldwell, Board President Shay Steele nor board solicitor Tracy Riley have replied to BreakingAC’s numerous attempts to get more information on the issue.

But several sources close to the investigation tell BreakingAC that much of the cost has been related to trying to get the district to cooperate with the investigation.

For example, it took nearly four months to get the investigation file compiled by Riley, who publicly railed against the need to bring in an independent firm.

Riley was stopped before she could complete her investigation, but did submit an eight-page report that was previously made public.

The report basically cleared Small of any wrongdoing, and instead cast doubt on the contract the district currently has with the company that has provided its substitute teachers since July 25, 2016.

But the Porzio report, according to sources close to the investigation, warns that the district could be legally liable.

Meanwhile, activist Steve Young is trying to get the public to attend Tuesday’s meeting, questioning an alleged coverup in the case.