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Atlantic City BOE's failure to pay again halts investigation into teacher abuse claims

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The investigation into a now-convicted sex offender's employment with the Atlantic City School District has been halted once again for failure to pay.
Kayan Frazier is currently in federal prison after pleading guilty in a child pornography case in which the victim was a student he met while substituting at Pennsylvania Avenue School in late 2016.
He was fired in March of 2017, after the then-principal filed two complaints saying Frazier violated district policy by having the child sleep over at his home.
That principal was LaQuetta Small, who is the mayor's wife and Frazier's cousin.
Frazier was arrested in April 2019. In those two years, Frazier started uploading photos and videos of the sexual abuse of minors, including the boy, according to timelines set out in a federal complaint and in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the victim's mother.
But what exactly was known about Frazier's actions and the circumstances surrounding his termination remain in question.
Last October, a split Atlantic City Board of Education voted to have an independent investigation into the matter by the law firm Porzio, Bromberg & Newman with a $50,000 cap.
Since then, however, the district has placed obstacles in the investigators' way, sources tell BreakingAC.
On April 27, the investigation was halted. It was expected to end quietly, with the cap already spent.
But then the victim's mother filed suit May 13, accusing the board, the Smalls and others of failing to protect her child, and not taking proper action at the time.
This sparked the public to come out to a school board meeting six days later, demanding answers.
At that same meeting, the board came out of executive session approving another $50,000 for the investigation to continue.
But board member Al Herbert warned the public at the time that the fight may not be over.
He said that some pushed for the amount to be enough to complete the investigation, "but some board members did not see fit to do that."
"So we’ll be back in another month or two increasing this again,” Herbert said. “When it does, we will need the public support. It’s inevitable.”
The statement proved prophetic.
Attorneys Jonelle Edwards-Stewart and Bill Hughes Jr. addressed the board at Tuesday's meeting, saying the investigation was halted and that the district owes about $96,000. About $92,000 — less than the approved $100,000 — has been paid.
Solicitor Tracy Riley said she had told the firm they needed to sit down and go over the bill, "since it exceeded the bottomline number of the contract."
"We previously scheduled a meeting and received no response on dates," Hughes told her, stressing that they had included a list of dates that would be good for them, but received no response back.
They also attempted to set up a Zoom meeting between the attorneys, Riley and state monitor Carole Morris, Edwards-Stewart said.
"That was several months ago, and we've had several correspondences and phone calls since, and none had been responded to," she said.
Both Edwards-Stewart and Hughes suggested a meeting date be set right then. But Riley replied that she would speak to Morris and then get back to them Wednesday.
Without more money approved, the investigation likely would end without being completed or even voted on.
Neither Riley nor Morris has returned numerous requests seeking comment.
Riley tried to do her own investigation before Porzio was brought in, but was told to stop to avoid conflict.
BreakingAC went through her report from that preliminary investigation and found several inaccuracies and missing parts to the timeline.

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