WEST GOSHEN – Two former employees of the Malvern School establishment in Westtown will have their criminal cases heard in the Court of Common Pleas.
On Wednesday, West Goshen Magistrate District Judge Martin Goch ordered a postponement of the cases of Victoria Aronson and Tiffany Janes Nichols after separate preliminary hearings on charges of child endangerment and failure to report in relation to stories of child abuse at school.
Nichols, the former executive director of the school – which caters for young developmental children up to age 8 – in Westtown is accused of failing to properly report reports of child abuse allegedly was committed by Aronson, a teacher at the school, involving three young children, all under the age of 2.
Nichols quit her job at the school in early November in a move described by officials there as a “change of direction”, while Aronson was fired days after the allegations emerged. Nichols is charged with felony endangering the welfare of children and failing to report or refer, while Aronson is charged with aggravated assault on a child under 6 and harassment resulting from multiple case of alleged physical abuse of three children aged 14 and 15. and 16 months.
Nichols, 39, of Kennett Square was joined in court by defense attorney Joseph Lesniak of Media, a former Delaware County prosecutor. Aronson is represented by counsel by Kevin M. O’Neill of Media. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Zachary Yurich of the prosecutor’s Child Abuse Unit.
Both women remain free on bail pending trial.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department (WEGO) Detective Michael Meiswich, the charges against Nichols involve actions she did or did not take following reports of abuse. about the three toddlers allegedly committed by Aronson in the “First Step” age class at the school, which opened in early 2021.
The complaint alleges that Nichols was informed of the incidents by three separate witnesses to the events, but did not report the matter to ChildLine, the child abuse complaint reporting agency at the state Department of Human Services. , in right time.
He says Aronson was allowed to remain employed by the school for a time despite the abuse charges and continued to work in the school’s classrooms. Aronson was arrested by WEGO in late October after police received an abuse report from the Chester County Detectives Office, which had been forwarded by ChildLine.
“This case clearly demonstrates Nichols’ failure to report, stop and allow a pattern of child abuse by one of his teachers to continue at his school,” Meiswich said in his complaint. “Nichols’ inability to act allowed the physical abuse to continue with children too young to verbally describe their pain and suffering caused by the actions of one of his teachers at school. (It has also) prevented parents from seeking medical attention and having their children medically evaluated for current and potential injuries.
According to Meiswich’s complaint, the alleged abuse of the three children – identified as Victim E, aged 15 months; victim S, aged 16 months; and Victim J, 14 months old – took place on September 29 and 30 at the school. One of the children reportedly suffered a severe bruise on his back and a scratch near his eye.
In one case, victim ‘S’ was on the floor in the school’s First Step room, reserved for children aged 12 to 18 months, when she started crying. The witness said he saw Aronson picking up “S” and slamming them on a changing table while saying, “You need to stop crying” in an angry voice. She held the child to the table with such force that her hand “turned purple,” the complaint states.
Immediately after this, the witness said he saw Aronson use the same actions and force on victim “E”, slamming them to the ground next to “S”. When they both started crying, she reportedly said, “You two can (swear) yell at each other. I’m tired of hearing it.
To contact editor Michael P. Rellahan, call 610-696-1544.