GUILDERLAND — At about 4 pm on Thursday, the Guilderland school district posted a notice saying, “We have just been advised by the Guilderland Police Department that Raquan Dyson has been released from custody. Please be assured that he is barred from any and all Guilderland Central School District properties.”
Dyson, 28, employed as a custodian at Farnsworth Middle School, had been arrested on Tuesday, charged with second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act, and first-degree dissemination of indecent materials to minors — all felonies — as well as with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
The arrest report filed by Guilderland Police lists Dyson’s address as 233 Executive Drive, a development off of Route 155, which is adjacent to the middle school campus.
Guilderland Police said a 14-year-old girl was the victim. The school district’s superintendent, Marie Wiles, said in earlier emails to students’ families that the victim was a student at the middle school, that the alleged incidents occurred off school grounds, and that social media played a role.
Curtis Cox, deputy chief of the Guilderland Police, when asked how the investigation started, told The Enterprise, “We received a complaint.” Asked if the complaint came from the victim or her family or someone else, he said, “I’m not certain.”
A charge of second-degree rape, Cox explained, means one of two things: Someone 18 or older engages in sexual intercourse with someone younger than 15 or with someone incapable of consent because of being mentally disabled or incapacitated. This is different than first-degree rape, which may involve “forcible compulsion” or greater age disparities.
Similarly, a charge of second-degree criminal sexual act means someone 18 or older engages in oral or anal sex with someone younger than 15 or with someone incapable of consent because of being mentally disabled or incapacitated.
Cox told The Enterprise on Wednesday that he could not comment on what type of “indecent materials” were involved or how they were disseminated because that, along with the use of social media, is part of the investigation and discussing it could hamper the prosecution.
The arrest report filed by the Guilderland Police says that Dyson, who is married, sent “a picture of a penis” to the victim via Instagram. It also says that Dyson engaged in earlier sexual acts with the victim on March 18 at about 11:30 am On March 22, the report says, Dyson came to the victim’s home with a condom and “stated he was there to engage in sexual intercourse .”
On Wednesday afternoon, Wiles had sent a second notice to parents, after the initial email announcing Dyson’s arrest, offering support for students and their families.
“Any GCSD student who would like to talk to someone in a private, supportive setting, is encouraged to seek a counselor or social worker in their school building,” she wrote. “Students can ask any staff member for help.”
The notice also said, “To the extent that social media played a role in this situation, we urge families to take an active role in your children’s activities online, and to remind students to be mindful of their digital footprint.”
Resources that “may be helpful in these conversations” are posted on the school district’s website.
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