Update: Former high school custodian charged with indecent assault and battery
A former custodian at Wareham High School has been charged with indecent assault and battery after he allegedly touched teenage students inappropriately.
Michael Miranda, 54, of Marion, was arraigned Monday, Aug. 7 at Wareham District Court on charges of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 and older. He pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance and ordered to stay away from witnesses in the case, according to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office.
Miranda was working as a custodian at the school when he allegedly inappropriately touched a 16-year-old student in an incident that was caught on video surveillance footage, according to court documents.
This student and another individual were washing paint brushes in a custodial closet after school for the Drama Club when Miranda allegedly touched her, according to court documents.
“As he approached the victim he put his left arm around her waist and moved his hand up touching the underwire section of her bra,” the court documents state.
The student reported the incident to the school psychologist, who informed the Wareham Police Department, as well as teachers who encouraged her to speak with administration, according to the court documents.
In a letter to families posted on social media, Superintendent Matthew D’Andrea said Miranda has not worked for the school since the incident was reported.
“The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority,” D’Andrea said.
However, the victim’s mother said the school did not fire Miranda.
She said in court, Miranda stated “that the only reason why he was being forced to resign is because I put the harassment prevention order on him.”
The identities of the victim and her mother have been kept anonymous due to the nature of this case.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, following the report, Wareham Police conducted an investigation and obtained a criminal complaint charging Miranda.
The court documents indicate this is not the first time Miranda may have acted inappropriately with students.
Another 16-year-old student said in the past, she had brushed off his behavior as him being “nice.”
However, Miranda allegedly walked the victim to her car on multiple occasions and had made comments to her and other students such as, “Oh you look so good,” when they are in costume for the Drama Club and “That’s the smile I’ve been looking for.”
In addition, students and music teacher Jason Roth have reported seeing Miranda touch and rub the arms of a number of female students, court documents show.
“Roth stated that it was never brought up as a concern to him until yesterday and he did not think of it in a concerning way until he put it together after he was told what occurred,” the court document states.
The victim's mother said she was unaware of a teacher having seen this behavior.
“In my opinion, if those other instances had been reported, he never would have had a chance to prey on my daughter. I am deeply disappointed that this was not the case,” she said.
The victim’s mother said she is also disappointed in the lack of communication with the school.
She said faculty told her they were not supposed to contact her, the school did not reach out after the report was made and the last conversation she had with the superintendent was in June.
In a social media post, the victim said at first, having others find out about her assault was “suffocating.”
However, she added, “This could be the beginning of justice, not just for me, but for all the girls he has hurt.”
She said she wants to use her story to become a voice and an advocate for other assault victims.
“To my fellow survivors, I want you to know that you are not defined by the trauma you have experienced,” she said. “You are strong, resilient and worthy of justice and healing.”
The victim’s mother said she encourages others to come forward and share their stories.
“This should have never happened,” she added. “We expect our kids to be safe when we send them to school, and in this case, my daughter wasn’t.”
Miranda will appear in court again on Oct. 6.