- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Prosecutors charged two Indianapolis Public Schools employees with misdemeanor failure to report Wednesday for not immediately notifying authorities of sexual abuse allegations against a former counselor.

A probable cause affidavit alleges Human Resources Director Lela “Tina” Hester and HR caseworker Shalon Dabney had evidence that Shana Taylor had sex with a teenager in her office at Longfellow Elementary School but waited six days to report it to authorities.

Detectives found emails and other evidence that Hester tried to cover it up, the affidavit said.

On Feb. 18, a day after a student’s mother presented evidence of an inappropriate relationship between her son and Taylor, Hester sent an email to a top IPS official, the affidavit said.

“I asked that the school police stay out of it so that she is not charged and we can handle from an HR perspective,” Hester wrote in her email, “but I don’t know if the mom plans to file charges.”

State law requires schools to immediately report abuse or neglect allegations to law enforcement or the Indiana Department of Child Services. The school district contacted Child Services on Feb. 23.

Indianapolis police arrested Taylor two days later. She faces nine counts of child seduction and one count each of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and dissemination of matter harmful to minors. Taylor has been placed on GPS monitoring and ordered to stay away from all schools. IPS has fired her.

Neither Hester nor Dabney were arrested. They were issued summonses instead. Online court records did not indicate whether either has attorneys.

“IPS will tolerate nothing less than the safest and most secure learning environment possible for our students, teachers, and support personnel,” IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said in a statement late Tuesday.

Last month he said IPS has strengthened its procedures for handling reports of suspected child abuse or neglect. School officials are now required to report any such allegations of abuse to the district’s police department.

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