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P.S. 87 Teacher's Aide Accused Of Sex Abuse Pleads Not Guilty

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A teacher's aide at a New York City elementary school has pleaded not guilty to molesting an 8-year-old student.

Gregory Atkins made a brief appearance in Manhattan state Supreme Court where he was informed a grand jury voted to indict him on charges of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

The alleged incidents occurred at P.S. 87 where Atkins has worked since 2008. Prosecutors say he inappropriately touched the boy on five occasions in the school's bathroom and auditorium.

Similar accusations were made against Atkins by a parent several years ago.

Documented in a letter to the Department of Education in 2006, when Atkins was working at M.S. 322 in Manhattan, a mother reported concern about Atkins after he showered her son with gifts, offered to babysit him, and lurked at his sports games.

No charges were filed because the relationship was not found to be sexual.

At the time of Atkins' arrest, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott responded by saying: "We take this allegation very seriously and we pledge to cooperate fully in the ongoing police investigation."

Atkins has been suspended from the school without pay.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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