Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Fugitive in rape kept job teaching

Case's gravity, refiling eluded Phila. school.

A man wanted on allegations he raped a 14-year-old girl and fathered her daughter was allowed to continue teaching math to eighth-grade boys at a privately run disciplinary school even after school authorities learned he had been arrested.

Arnesx Honore, 32, a teacher at the Hunting Park campus of Community Education Partners since 2003, was charged in 2006 with raping a minor. The charges were withdrawn, and school officials, who first became aware of the arrest during a routine records check last year, determined that it was a "domestic dispute," said Kevin Feeley, CEP spokesman.

School officials did not know the assault had involved a minor, he added. "We saw that the charges were withdrawn, and he remained employed," Feeley said.

But after those charges were dropped last year because the teenager was reluctant to testify, they were refiled a month later, in July. CEP, which the Philadelphia School District pays to run some of its disciplinary schools, did not know the charges had been refiled until this week, Feeley said.

Honore's picture was published Friday among those of the city's most violent fugitives, and CEP officials found out Sunday, Feeley said. The company suspended him this week. On Tuesday, police arrested him.

The case has raised questions among school officials who are trying to figure out how to prevent such a situation from happening again. How did Honore keep his job after he was first arrested in 2006 and accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting and sodomizing the teenager from the summer of 2003 through April 2006, when she was 14 through 17?

The school district is looking into whether it was notified of the charges against Honore, said Tom Brady, the district's interim chief executive officer. Honore is not a district employee; he was hired by Community Education Partners.

"Should we have known? Absolutely. Apparently, we didn't. I'm trying to find out why," Brady said.

Police said they had a policy of notifying school and city officials when publicly employed workers in the city are arrested.

When police learned of the rape allegations in April 2006, the girl, then 17, had a 3-year-old girl she said Honore has fathered. He was arrested four months later. Under Pennsylvania law, a 14-year-old cannot consent to a sexual relationship.

Honore listed his profession on police records as a teacher, Chief of Detectives Keith Sadler said.

Court records for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, which can be viewed free online, list 12 charges filed Aug. 22, 2006, that include rape, aggravated indecent sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, and related offenses.

According to records filed at the courthouse, the birth of the teenager's daughter was the first of four pregnancies during the three years the girl was allegedly beaten, threatened and abused. Authorities said the girl had been living with Honore because of problems at home.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Honore is accused of forcing her to terminate at least two pregnancies and, during the second, when she was 15, telling her that if she did not have an abortion he would "kick her ass and do it for her."

At the time she reported the crimes, authorities noted she was four months pregnant with another of Honore's children, but court records did not specify whether that child was carried to term.

On Aug. 2, 2006, while police were investigating, Honore allegedly went to her house and threatened to blow it up and kill her, her guardian and the daughter after finding out that the teenager was with another man, the affidavit said.

The case was scheduled for hearings four times, but the charges were withdrawn June 13, 2007, records show.

When the new charges were filed a month later, law enforcement authorities said, they did not know Honore was still working at the school.

His name was placed on a list of Philadelphia's 150 most-wanted violent fugitives that Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey and Mayor Nutter released Friday.

School administrators said they had called police after discovering Honore on the list.

Community Education Partners operates three schools for disruptive and low-performing students in the city under a 2000 contract.

Hunting Park serves 1,200 students with disciplinary problems. It is at Front Street and Hunting Park Avenue.

CEP checks the names of all employees the state and district require, officials said. The checks for convictions include a child-abuse clearance and a state police criminal-records check. In addition, the names of all CEP employees are annually put through county, state and federal databases, said Barbara Braman, a CEP executive.

Honore is not a certified teacher, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Teachers at CEP do not have to be certified, but must be taking courses toward certification, officials said.

Honore is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

The Philadelphia School District, which conducts background checks of all employees when they are hired, is looking at tightening procedures to avoid similar situations. The district is considering whether to conduct periodic reviews of employees to determine if they have been charged or convicted of a crime.

The district also is looking at adding a clause that would lead to automatic dismissal if an employee is charged with a felony and fails to report it to the district, Brady said.