Two Queens women are facing a handful of charges after allegedly doling out extreme forms of endurance punishment to four children attending a Little Neck tutoring academy over the course of seven months earlier this year.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Sun Kyung Park, 33, of Oakland Gardens, has been charged with one count of second-degree assault and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Min Kyung Chea, 34, of Little Neck, whose husband owns the Crown Tutoring Academy in Little Neck, has been charged with two counts of third-degree attempted assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
On numerous occasions between Jan. 1 and July 31, the two women allegedly disciplined a 9-year-old male student by having him hold up to eight books above his head for extended periods of time, during which time Park would allegedly beat the student with a notebook all over his body, causing him substantial pain.
Park also allegedly punished the student for misbehaving, getting a bad grade on a test or for being too loud by withholding food and water from him for multiple days, before allowing him to only eat rice for a day.
Park allegedly disciplined another 10-year-old male student by making him hold multiple books above his head and not allowing him or a second boy to use the bathroom, forcing them to urinate in their pants.
Additionally, Chea allegedly disciplined a 10-year-old male student by throwing a backpack and a shoe box at him, striking the child in the face, causing him pain.
“The defendants had an obligation to provide a safe environment for the students to keep them from harm,” Brown said, “which they are accused of failing to fulfill in this case, by being unable to distinguish between acceptable discipline and physical and mental abuse.”
Park faces up to seven years in prison while Chea faces a possible one-year sentence.
In response to the alleged child abuse at the Crown Tutoring Academy, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) announced on Tuesday they will be putting forth legislation to provide additional oversight on similar educational establishments and enhanced penalties for those accused of abusing students.
“As tutoring centers proliferate in our community,” Stavisky said, “we must set standards so that parents can be sure their children are learning in a safe and supportive environment.”
According to Kim’s office, the legislation, titled the Protect All Children Act, would require criminal background checks for education providers and a hotline for children suffering from abuse at the hands of their educators would also be established.
“These academies and tutoring sites are often very rigorous and tenacious in the way they discipline children,” Kim said. “Some of these children, who are still in elementary school, deserve to be in more nurturing environments where they can learn to be productive students.
“It is our duty in this country,” he continued, “to make sure all children, regardless of background or race, are provided with a safe environment where they can imbue a passion to learn.”