Ex-Newburgh teacher accused of sexually abusing student dies by suicide

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A retired Orange County school teacher who was recently accused of sexually molesting an elementary student decades ago has died by suicide.

Former Newburgh teacher and coach Sherman Memmelaar took his own life Sunday.

Sandra Burke, who is now an adult, claims Memmelaar regularly forced her to perform sex acts in school, allegedly starting when she was a kindergartener in 1969.

"The worst kind of sexual molestation and pedophilia,” says Evan Foulke who represents Burke. “He would take her out of her classroom, make her stay after gym class."

The lawsuit, filed under the Child Victims Act, also names the Newburgh Enlarged City School District and states Memmelaar was a gym teacher at the now-closed Union Grove Elementary School when the alleged abuse happened.

Foulke says his client, as a child, tried to tell her teachers at least twice.

"There were red flags everywhere including specific complaints about Memmelaar,” says Foulke.

The lawsuit, which is now against his estate and the Newburgh school district, is continuing despite Memmelaar's death.

Memmelaar's family and school officials declined to comment on the allegations.

 

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