Locust Valley School District, teachers union at odds in abuse case; parents urge ‘no’ budget vote

The controversy stems from music teacher John Benstock, who received six years probation after pleading guilty to sexually abusing children in class. (5/12/14)

LOCUST VALLEY - A standoff between Locust Valley School District and the state teachers union may bleed over into a budget vote scheduled for later this month.

The controversy stems from music teacher John Benstock, who received six years probation after pleading guilty to sexually abusing children in class. The district is suing Benstock for his wages over the 11 years he engaged in the abuse. But Benstock is getting some legal support from the state teacher’s union.

The union says while it objects to Benstock’s conduct, it is fighting the district in court saying the case could have a negative effect on any employee who gets in trouble on the job. The district is suing the former teacher for about $1 million in back-wages.

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"We have an excellent case by which we will recoup his compensation," the district said in a statement to News 12.

A group called Locust Valley Parents Against Child Abuse is now calling for residents to vote down the school budget in objection to anyone, including the union, standing with Benstock.

News 12 attempted to reach Benstock at his last known residence in Bayville, but was told that he had moved.

Residents will vote on the school budget May 20.

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