Orlando Sentinel | by Jeff Weiner and Leslie Postal | January 21, 2021
A principal of Orlando Science Charter School was arrested Tuesday, records show, accused of failing to report suspected child abuse by an employee and instructing a subordinate not to do so, either.
Abdulaziz Yalcin, 35, the school’s middle and high school principal, faces two third-degree felony counts, record show. He did not immediately return a call to a phone number listed in court records.
Yalcin knew in early 2019 that several boys had told a school dean that another employee was soliciting nude photos of them and engaging them in sexually explicit conversations via the Snapchat app, a case report from the Orlando Police Department said.
But he did not report the accusations to police for a month, it said.
Yalcin “not only failed to report said allegations but instructed teachers under him not to report to the proper authorities,” the document said. The school’s dean told him police and the Florida Department of Children and Families needed to be contacted but those suggestions “fell on deaf ears,” it said.
In Florida, all educators are required to report suspected child abuse to the state.
Instead, police sayYalcin told the dean to investigate the boys’ accusations and then confronted the employee, a recent graduate of the school, and forced him to resign. About a month later, the school resource officer was told of the allegations — possibly because an upset parent was threatening to make the accusations public, the report said.
A detective then began investigating and, in early May 2019, Jaelen Alexander was arrested on a slew of charges, including solicitation of a minor and unlawful communications, records show.
It was not clear from the records why Yalcin’s arrest came a year and a half later or if anyone else at the school could face charges. The documents noted that Yalcin’s boss was also informed of the allegations against Alexander in March 2019.
The two administratorstold Detective Ghena Luker, who went to the campus on May 6, 2019, that they had “conducted their own, thorough investigation” and spoken with Alexander, but the detective wrote that, “I told them the importance of waiting for law enforcement involvement prior to confronting any suspects.”
Orlando Science runs a number of charter schools — public schools run by private groups — in Central Florida. The schools are academically well-regarded, earning A ratings on Florida’s annual school report card. The middle and high school, located in Orlando near College Park, was the group’s first school.
Yalcin was booked into the Orange County Jail about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and has since been released.
In an emailed statement, the charter school said Yalcin had been “relieved of his duties” but would not answer other questions.
“The School has, and will continue, to cooperate with any requests for assistance from law enforcement,” the statement said. “Because this is an ongoing case, we cannot provide further comment at this time.”
According to an investigative report, Alexander had started what he purported to be a mentoring group for students, but soon began preying on them, asking for photos of their genitals and sending photos of his own.
One student told police Alexander reached out to him on Snapchat and asked for nudes, offering $50 and help getting out of class in exchange. Three students were identified by police as having received nude photos from Alexander.
At the time of his arrest, Alexander was 19. He graduated from the school in 2018, the police report said.
Most of the boys he requested photos from were 14.
When Alexander was arrested, Yalcin told the Orlando Sentinel in an email that Alexander had been hired as a part-time office assistant the previous August and his employment had ended in March 2019.
According to court documents, Alexander failed to appear for a court hearing Dec. 15 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Photo: Abdulaziz Yalcin, 35.