Massachusetts high school employee accused of raping special needs student

Malden High School in Massachusetts

CBS Boston

MALDEN, Mass. -- A paraprofessional who works with special needs students at Malden High School is facing multiple charges after allegedly sexually assaulting a student at the school.

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Steven MacDonald, center looking ahead, during a court appearance

CBS Boston

Steven MacDonald, 46, was released on personal recognizance after being charged with two counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a disabled person, and one count of assault with intent to rape, reports CBS Boston.

"The defendant in this case was trusted to care for and assist the student that he allegedly sexually assaulted," said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan in a release Tuesday. "Such allegations, if proven, violate the trust that parents and guardians place in their children's educators."

Prosecutors said the victim is a 16-year-old student who MacDonald assaulted several times while helping him go to the bathroom.

MacDonald began working in the student's classroom in September of 2015. It's unclear when the alleged rapes and assaults began, but prosecutors said the boy told his mother and his doctors his account of what was happening in school in late March.

Prosecutors gave one possible reason why the boy may have been afraid to tell.

"The defendant continuously threatened to go to the victim's home and kill his mother," the prosecution said in court Tuesday. "The defendant would offer the victim candy on occasion in order to lure him into the bathroom."

Charles Grandson, Interim Superintendent of Malden Schools, called the charges "deeply concerning."

"We cannot provide any further details about the incident as this is a personnel matter," Grandson told CBS Boston. "The school district will continue to work with Malden Police and the Middlesex District Attorney's Office as they continue to investigate."

School officials became aware of the situation in March as well, and that's when MacDonald was placed on leave from his position.

Attorneys for MacDonald, who has no prior criminal record, said he was a respected member of the community.

A judge ordered MacDonald to wear a GPS monitor and to stay away from minors.

MacDonald was never arrested in this case, as this was a direct indictment. He is expected to be back in court September 15, and has until 4 p.m. Tuesday to go to Malden Police to continue with the booking process.