By Jano Tantongco
A Wheatley Heights man previously convicted of sex abuse was fired from his teaching position at a Dix Hills private school after he was arrested Sunday for allegedly “inappropriately” touching a 9-year-old girl last week, according to authorities and school officials.
The man, 45-year-old Gerry White, followed a woman and her three children inside C-Town Supermarket at 1662 New York Ave., Huntington Station at around 9:30 p.m. on March 13, according to Suffolk police.
White allegedly used “vulgar language” before he touched the woman’s 9-year-old daughter on her leg and upper thigh, police said.
After an investigation, Second Precinct Crime Section officers arrested White at his Conklin Avenue home and charged him with unlawfully dealing with a child. He was held overnight for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip and pled not guilty, with bail set at $1,500 cash or $5,000 bond.
White taught math and science at Upper Room Christian School in Dix Hills — where he was hired in September 2015, according to school records. He is also the owner of EZPZ Solutions, a child education business, according to police.
Following the arrest, Upper Room Headmaster Gregory Eck said in a statement, “We have been shocked to hear today of the arrest of Gerry White.”
He continued, “In the year and a half that Mr. White has been affiliated with our school, he has never exhibited any wrongful behavior toward any of our students.”
Eck added that police told the school that the child was not a student there. Further, he said, the school has “chosen to terminate” their relationship with both White and his company.
“Our prayers go out to the family of the young girl involved in this incident, as well as Mr. White, that the healing power and deliverance of the Lord Jesus Christ may be present in the lives of all involved in this tragic situation,” Eck added.
White was previously convicted of third-degree sex abuse and was given a conditional discharge and five days of community service by a Queens judge on Dec. 8, 2008, according Robert Clifford, spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
White, who lived in Queens at the time of the previous incident, was arrested on Nov. 7, 2007 on the New York City transit system by transit police, according to Clifford, who said he had access to the court records.
The 2008 case is sealed, according to a spokeswoman at Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office.
When asked about White’s prior conviction, Eck said he had no further comment.
White is next slated to appear in court on March 27. White’s legal aid attorney, Maxwell Slone, could not be reached for comment before deadline Wednesday.
Police are asking anyone who believes they may be a victim of White to call 911 or the Second Precinct Crime Section at 631-854-8226.