• Substitute teacher admits to molesting Osceola County students at multiple schools, detective says

    By: Christopher Boyce , Cierra Putman , Lauren Seabrook

    Updated:

    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A fired substitute teacher has reportedly told a detective that he inappropriately touched children at multiple Osceola County elementary schools.

    An investigation into the behavior of 19-year-old Syed Yasseen-Asher initially began when a parent reported that the teacher allegedly molested their child, a Boggy Creek Elementary School student. 

    Channel 9 learned Tuesday that Yasseen-Asher admitted to also inappropriately touching students at Flora Ridge and Mill Creek elementary schools. 


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    A representative of Osceola County schools, in conjunction with law enforcement, later released a list to Channel 9 of all of the schools where the suspect taught. See the list below:

    • Boggy Creek Elementary -- Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, 2019
    • Central Avenue Elementary -- Jan. 16, Jan. 23, Feb. 6 and Feb. 20, 2019
    • Flora Ridge Elementary -- Feb. 12 and Feb. 18, 2019
    • Ventura Elementary -- Feb. 14, 2019
    • Pleasant Hill Elementary -- Jan. 22 and Feb. 8, 2019
    • Kissimmee Middle School -- Dec. 18 and Dec. 20, 2018, Jan. 11 and Feb. 1, 2019
    • Kissimmee Elementary -- Jan. 18, 2019
    • Parkway Middle School -- Jan. 15, 2019
    • Mill Creek Elementary -- Jan. 9, 2019

    Parents at the listed schools were notified of Yasseen-Asher's prior employment at the schools.

    Each student's parents will receive an automated message, and the parents of students who were in the classroom with Yasseen-Asher will receive a personal call from the school's principal.

    An arrest affidavit showed Yasseen-Asher inappropriately touched six girls between the ages of 6 and 8 years old at Boggy Creek Elementary School.

    The document stated that the suspect's behavior dated back to Feb. 21, when one victim said, "Asher began drawing a picture of a dolphin at his desk" before he touched her private area. 

    Other victims have similar stories of being molested in the classroom.


    Watch reporter Lauren Seabrook interview the Osceola County superintendent below:


    The detective who interviewed Yasseen-Asher said during his court proceeding that he admitted to touching multiple girls.

    "He said he found the children attractive and beautiful," according to the detective.

    The Sheriff's Office is now working with the school board to try and reach students at all the schools the suspect worked for to identify any additional victims.

    Yasseen-Asher remains in custody without the possibility of bonding out. He was arrested and charged with three counts of child molestation last week before the additional victims came forward Monday.

    Deputies said that because of Yasseen-Asher's confession, they believe he victimized at least two other students at two additional schools who have not come forward yet.

    Osceola County Superintendent Debra Pace told Channel 9's Lauren Seabrook on Wednesday that she did not have that information because the Osceola County Sheriff's Office never told the district.

    "I can just tell you that we acted on the information we had at hand. It's an ongoing investigation, so law enforcement is limited in information they share with us," Pace said.

    "Does that concern you, though, that over five days, they didn't make you aware of the fact that he had admitted to touching students inappropriately at two other of your schools?" Seabrook said.

    "I have not had that information given to me directly by the Sheriff's Office, so I can't comment any further than what I've already provided for you," Pace said.

    The district said it plans to release the substitute teacher's personnel file as well as documents that state what classes and grades he oversaw as well as how many kids he taught.

    Channel 9 also learned that Yasseen-Asher is an Indian citizen in the country on a visa.

    Officials said counselors have been made available to parents and children.

    "If anyone is a victim, we certainly want them to come forward and help parents with that conversation with their students," said Dana Schafer, a school district spokeswoman.

    A mental health therapist spoke with Channel 9 and said that younger victims face unique challenges.

    Maria Estrella explained that it's important for victims to make sure they feel safe when coming forward.

    "Sad to say, we have to teach our children the village is no longer a comfortable village, but you have to be aware of these things and speak up, and don't be afraid because I'm here to protect you," Estrella said. 

    The therapist stressed for parents to keep their emotions in check if their child is a victim of abuse.

    "Regulate your emotions, because your daughter or son is going to see how you're reacting and not open up," she said.

    Therapy rooms at The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families in Orlando are used to help victims feel safe. The center generally creates a plan to provide therapy and help victims heal.

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