A Manhattan high school English teacher was charged Wednesday with buying a 16-year-old student beer inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art before trying to kiss her in Central Park, according to court records.
Dean Bethea, 54, was held on $2,500 bail during his arraignment Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said. He was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
Bethea, who works at the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering, is accused of inviting the girl to the museum on Dec. 2 and offering her two beers, which she drank. He then asked her to go to dinner, but she said no, according to court records.
Bethea then took a walk through Central Park with the girl, who he had taught when she was a freshman, and told her he “admired her and that she was beautiful,” according to the criminal complaint. He then allegedly asked her for a kiss — but was turned down – so he settled for a hug.
An attorney for Bethea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“These allegations are troubling, and this teacher has been reassigned away from the classroom,” Department of Education spokesman Devora Kaye said in an email. “He will not be in contact with any students pending the resolution of his case.”
Bethea started working as a teacher with the department in 2012 and has been at that school since 2013, according to the DOE.
Bethea’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.