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Arizona teacher removes shirt of 6-year-old female student as punishment

Kindergarten teacher Thomas Washburn arrested for allegedly removing a 6-year-old girl's shirt as punishment
Maricopa County Sheriff's Department

According to Las Vegas’s KLAS-TV on Jan. 17, a kindergarten teacher in Arizona is facing 26 counts of indecent exposure and one count of child abuse for allegedly removing a 6-year-old girl’s shirt in front of her classroom as a punishment.

Thomas Washburn, 54, reportedly became upset over something and started shouting which scared the students. The victim hid her face in the top of her shirt and Mr. Washburn asked her to stop. When the child didn't comply, Mr. Washburn removed her shirt leaving her naked from the waist up in front of the class for approximately 10 minutes.

Mr. Washburn told the girl's mother what he had done when she came to pick up her child. She immediately demanded to speak to the principal. Mr. Washburn was arrested, but refused to answer the detectives’ questions. It should be noted that the victim’s mother stated that the victim was a premature birth who is developmentally delayed.

Initially booked on one count of child abuse and one count of indecent exposure, detectives added 24 counts of indecent exposure, one for each student in the classroom.

The school district issued the following statement:

Thomas Washburn has been placed on paid administrative leave and is assigned to home. The district will use the police findings as the basis for any future employment action against Washburn.

"Our first priority is the safety and security of our students. Mesa Police Department is leading the investigation, and we are working cooperatively with them. Please contact Mesa PD for information regarding the incident and investigation.

"Washburn has been employed by Mesa Public Schools since August 2006. His only assignment has been a teacher at Adams Elementary."

The investigation is continuing.

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