A former teacher at a Seattle private school was charged this week with four counts of first-degree child molestation for allegedly touching two of his students during classes when other children were present, according to King County prosecutors.
Jordan Eareckson Murray — who went by the honorary title of “Rabbi Yaakov Murray” at the Torah Day School in Columbia City — was arrested May 3 and spent less than 48 hours in the King County Jail before posting a $100,000 bond, according to jail and court records.
Murray, 32, a married father of three, does not have a criminal history, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
Formal charges were filed Tuesday, accusing Murray of touching the girls under their clothes numerous times since the middle of the school year. Other students in Murray’s first- and second-grade classes were apparently unaware of the behavior because Murray’s desk blocked their view, charging papers say.
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The two alleged victims, a 6- and 7-year-old, were playing together at the younger girl’s house and told the girl’s 12-year-old sister — who is also a student at the school — that “Rabbi Murray puts his hands in their pants,” charging papers say. The girls “were scared” and confused and didn’t know why it was happening, the papers say.
The sister brought the girls to her mother, and they disclosed the alleged abuse, according to the charges.
The 12-year-old had baby-sat Murray’s children in the past, the papers say.
Another 6-year-old also described sitting on Murray’s lap or standing between his legs, and said other girls in her class also sat on his lap, according to the charging papers. The girl said Murray often hugged her from behind and touched her over her clothing, the papers say.
The two alleged victims and at least four other students in Murray’s classes, all ages 6 and 7, routinely complained of anxiety, headaches and stomach aches, but the girls’ parents said the children were fine and acted normally after being sent home early, the papers say.
The Seattle Police Department received two referrals from Child Protective Services on April 23 and launched an investigation, the papers say.
Murray, who has since been fired by the school, declined to provide a statement to police, charging papers say.
“The defendant is a clear danger to children given the circumstances of this crime where he abused his position of trust as a first- and second-grade teacher, secretly molesting these girls in class in front of others,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carol Spoor wrote in the charging documents.
Murray is scheduled to be arraigned May 20.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org