The warrant for the arrest of a former Miss Porter’s School physics teacher and coach outlines allegations of repeated sexual liaisons between the teacher and a student who has since graduated.
But police continue to investigate the case, and say more charges are possible. Farmington police Det. Susan DiVenere interviewed six current and former Miss Porter’s students about inappropriate conduct they claim they experienced with Joseph Rajkumar, 42, who was charged last month with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.
Rajkumar posted $500,000 bail. He appeared briefly at Superior Court in Hartford on Tuesday.
Rajkumar worked at Miss Porter’s from August 2009 until March 4. Farmington police opened their investigation March 6, after a Miss Porter’s guidance counselor notified the state Department of Children and Families of sexually inappropriate conversations between Rajkumar and five students, police said. The guidance counselor learned of the messages and immediately contacted DCF, police said.
Farmington police praised Miss Porter’s for its quick reporting of the suspicious conduct, its cooperation with the police investigation and its focus on getting students any counseling or other help they need.
The school has a zero tolerance policy and fired Rajkumar as soon as staff learned of the messages, Farmington police Chief Paul Melanson said. The school then immediately contacted DCF, as required by law.
The student Rajkumar is accused of sexually assaulting is now in college and disclosed the alleged contact with Rajkumar to her boyfriend. The boyfriend contacted local police, who interviewed the young woman and contacted Farmington police on March 20.
The student told police her relationship with Rajkumar began when she was 15 and consisted of what police described as inappropriate attention. It became sexual when she was 17, according to the warrant.
Although the age of consent in Connecticut is 16, state law makes it illegal for a school employee to engage in sexual conduct with a student.
The woman told police she would talk to Rajkumar about stress during school, especially when big tests were coming up. “He would give her a hug and ‘pull me in really close, feeling me a little,’” according to the warrant. “She explained that he would rub his hand up and down her back.”
The girl acknowledged that she thought Rajkumar’s attention was “exciting” and that “she went along with it.” In the meantime, Rajkumar urged her to create a fictitious email account. During the summer, the student told police, she and Rajkumar exchanged sexual videos.
Eventually, they began having sexual contact that progressed from “making out” to groping to sexual intercourse, the warrant says. They had intercourse in the back closet of Rajkumar’s classroom in the Olin building at Miss Porter’s, the student told police.
After the woman graduated, she did not hear from Rajkumar and was confused about their relationship, the warrant says. She said she was afraid to report what happened out of fear Miss Porter’s would take away her diploma, which would cause her to have to leave college.
On March 7, according to the warrant, Rajkumar went to the Farmington Police Department to talk with DiVenere about the investigation. He admitted that he communicated with current students through a Gmail account with the fake name Terry Olson, and described the emails as “not appropriate,” the warrant says.
DiVenere found emails between Rajkumar and the student that were sexual in nature, although Rajkumar claimed all such emails were after she graduated and was in college, the warrant says. When DiVenere noted that the dates on the emails did not back up that claim, he began to cry and repeatedly apologized, the warrant says.
On March 21, Rajkumar voluntarily went to the police station to talk to DiVenere again about the case, and acknowledged a sexual relationship with the student during her senior year, but then left the police station because he said he wanted to confess to his wife before saying more, the warrant says.
He returned a short time later and provided a written statement to DiVenere in which he admitted to the relationship, and wrote “I am very sorry and embarrassed to report this. I know this is my fault. I am sorry to have hurt the youngster in this process,” according to the warrant.
The relationship, he said, began in the fall. “We would talk about attraction towards each other,” he said, according to the warrant. He described how the sexual contact evolved to the point where they were having intercourse as often as twice a week in his classroom closet.
The student provided more information to police about what occurred and her age at the time. She also described the progression in the warrant: “I do not know what exactly Joseph Rajkumar has said, but the short story (that even he cannot deny) is that he used me for sex and made me believe that it was OK.”