Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Filed Against New York City P.S. 189

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

July 1, 2021, Brooklyn, New York — Attorney Andrew Shubin of the Pennsylvania-based Shubin Law Firm, Inc., and Mark Peters and Lesley Brovner, of the New York City-based Peters Brovner LLC, law firm, filed a sexual assault lawsuit today on behalf of Miriam Maignan, who was sexually abused by a school teacher for at least two years beginning in 1979, when she was an 8-and 9-year-old P.S. 189 elementary school student. Attorneys Peters and Brovner described Ms. Maignan as “a courageous sexual abuse survivor” who filed this lawsuit to “demand accountability from the school, P.S. 189, and the New York City Department of Education, for their role in enabling and emboldening a teacher, Jean Pamphile, to sexually abuse her on an almost daily basis as an elementary school student.”

Attorney Shubin stated that “this lawsuit is an important step in seeking to hold the District accountable for their role in enabling and empowering Mr. Pamphile to sexually abuse a schoolchild by ignoring specific and scary sexual abuse red flags, and by, sadly, signaling to the victim that she wasn’t worthy of protection or being taken seriously.” According to Shubin, “when P.S. 189 and District officials gave a predatory teacher access to a vulnerable child, and the power and resources to abuse her, they betrayed Miriam. The community gave the school its children and trust and the District gave Pamphile the ammunition essential to abuse – access and indifference. It is painful to think about how many children could have been saved had District officials cared more about the kids than the School’s or their own reputations.”

According to the plaintiff, “I made the difficult decision to come forward today and to demand justice and accountability from my abuser and the powerful people who enabled his abuse. As an 8 and 9-year-old child, I did everything I could to sound the alarm bells to, and plead for help from, the adults who I was told to trust and that were there to protect me. Instead of standing with me, they delivered me, over and over again, to a child sexual abuser and offered me nothing more than callous indifference. These powerful school officials betrayed me in favor of one of their own and there is not a day that goes by that I do not feel pain, anguish and trauma as a result of my abuse.”

According to the complaint, for a two-year period, P.S. 189 teacher Jean Pamphile ordered District employees to remove Miriam from her classroom and to bring her to his classroom. Instead of Miriam getting the education she was entitled to, Pamphile sexually abused her, touching her genitals and digitally and orally penetrating her, multiple times per week during the school day in his classroom, and during an after-school tutoring program, he led which Miriam and other P.S. 189 students attended. Miriam, knowing that she was being removed from class so that Pamphile could abuse her, began wearing multiple heavy layers of clothing to school – even during the hottest times of the year. In an attempt to protect her 8 and 9-year-old self from sexual abuse, Miriam purposefully urinated in her layers of clothing when she learned that District employees were removing her to Pamphile’s class so that they would., instead, be forced to bring her to the nurse’s office. This triggered self-urination became such a frequent occurrence that Miram’s classmates began to bully her and called her “pee girl” and the highest-ranking school officials were made aware of these urgent red flags. Each time she was brought to the nurse’s office, she begged with the nurse not to send her to Pamphile’s class. Her pleas were ignored and the District delivered her to Pamphile who would then sexually abuse her.