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Ex-Peabody teacher aide accused of abusing special needs student

BOSTON — A former Peabody special education student has alleged a teacher aide plied him with alcohol and opioids while she performed sex acts on the teenager in her home.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court said the boy, now in his 30s, identified by the pseudonym John Doe, was a freshman at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School when Lynette Occhipinti, an educational assistant, began sexually abusing him in 1999.

“Occhipinti, an educator, deprived John of an education, plied him with drugs and alcohol so she could sexually abuse him, and caused the addiction that has nearly killed him,” said the court documents.

In addition to the teacher aide, the 30-page complaint names Timothy Montgomery, a former director of the Special Education Department in the district, and a number of other educators whose names he did not recall.  

Occhipinti and Montgomery could not be reached for comment. 

Carmen Durso, the man’s attorney, and Peabody School Superintendent Cara Murtagh did not return calls seeking comment. 

John is described as having been on an Individualized Education Plan to address his attention deficit disorder and other learning disabilities. The conditions affected his reading comprehension and the ability to process things quickly.

During his first year at the high school, the complaint said Occhipinti tutored John for an hour each school day. He was 14 when he and another special education student went to her Salem home for the first time, the suit said, where the boys used her tanning bed.

“When John arrived, she suggested that she rub John’s body with lotion to help the tanning process … Occhipinti rubbed lotion on John’s back, shoulders, and chest … Occhipinti’s then-husband suggested they all smoke marijuana and they did,” the complaint said. 

The boys visited her home at least twice a week for tutoring. Occhipinti encouraged them to drink alcohol and smoke pot, the suit said. Over time, there was less tutoring and more sexual abuse, the man alleged. 

“Occhipinti told John that she fantatsizes about him every night when she’s having sex with her husband … and made sexual advances toward him,” court documents said. 

As time went on, Occhipinti supplied the boys with pain medications, including opioids, he alleged. 

“One evening when John was 15, she gave John alcohol and drugs, he became intoxicated, and she removed his shirt and performed oral sex on him,” the complaint said. 

On other occasions, he alleged Occhipinti dressed up in lingerie and high heels, straddled him and tried to engage in sexual intercourse with him. But because John was underdeveloped, her attempts were unsuccessful and she “forced John to give and receive oral sex … and spank her.”

Over time, the complaint said, John became more dependent on opioids and cocaine and became addicted. He graduated in 2003, but by then he was a “full-blown addict,” the complaint said.

In recent years, John enrolled in a community college with the dream of becoming a police officer or firefighter. But he could not complete his studies and began treatment for the addiction a few years ago. 

The lawsuit seeks money damages to be determined by a jury and payment of all court costs and attorney fees. 

A court date has not been scheduled.

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