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Friday, November 21, 2014
Glen Head gym teacher ‘vindicated’
(Page 2 of 3)
Courtesy Aaron Kozlowski
Aaron Kozlowski and his wife, Jill. Kozlowski said that when the charges were dismissed, it felt like a weight off his shoulders.

“There were certainly issues with [the case] even then,” Gann said. “Aaron is advised in March that there is an allegation made against him that some boys saw him in his office looking at gay porn — they don’t identify who it is but [the school district] put him on administrative leave. How it got to the police and why I don’t know, because I don’t think the school intended for it to get to that point. But sometime in April, there is an arrest and that’s the first time [Kozlowski] found out who the boys were making the allegations. And frankly, they were allegations that were not reported for five weeks and that, to me, affected the credibility of the statements.”

Kozlowski, a former Hofstra University lacrosse player and scholar athlete, surrendered to detectives. He was charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child; he pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. Kozlowski was suspended from his job with pay, and signed an order of protection to stay away from the students who made the allegations.

Gann said that the students, whose names were not disclosed, claimed that they came forward with the allegations weeks later after Kozlowski allegedly made a lewd comment to one of the students in gym class on March 7.

“The day before they went to report it, they claimed that Mr. Kozlowski was in gym class and made a lewd comment to one of the boys that he was doing the push ups in a sexy manner,” Gann said, adding that the claim was false. “The day they said that this incident happened they weren’t even in gym class.”

Gann said that prosecutors searched Kozlowski’s computer at work and his personal laptop and found no pornography. After the students came forward with the allegations, they reportedly received threats in school and claimed that they were the victims of online bullying. According to Gann, that's when the case began to unravel.

“Aaron is a beloved teacher in the school, so the thought was that some of the other kids were bullying them because he was so well-liked,” he said. “But when we spoke to the district attorney, they did an investigation and found that an Instagram account from where the threats were emanating was created by one of the kids. The D.A. finds out that it’s actually one of the four complainants who set up the Instagram account and had sent the threatening messages — she confronts him, and the whole thing falls apart.”

Gann said that's when the student admitted to lying about the allegations.

“The D.A. tried to speak to the other kids but they refused to speak; one kid continues to stand by the story,” Gann said. “I think he’s standing by his story because he’s kind of locked in.”

Gann said that Kozlowski had been forced to take disciplinary action against at least one of the students prior to the allegations. Ostrove said in April that one of the students was overheard saying that Kozlowski “was a [expletive] and had a bunch of other criticism against him that was made prior to the allegations.”

“…After I found out who made the accusations, I started to see things that could have been signs that they could have done something like this, and could have been angry with me,” Kozlowski told the Herald. “It seems like it’s the one kid who is holding out who orchestrated the whole thing.”

“These were four kids who were problems in school and Aaron had disciplined them,” Gann added. “I don’t think that they thought it would get to the point that it did; I think they’re kids who said, ‘We’ll show Mr. Kozlowski,’ and never thought it would blow up. I think they were immature students.”

Now, Kozlowski, who had no arrest record prior to the incident, is working to put his life back on track — and restore his name. He was recently married, and said that his wife, family and many parents, students and colleagues in the North Shore School District have stood by him.

Kozlowski said that he is considering legal action against the boys’ families.

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