Qikai "Ben" Chen, a former math teacher for Basis Charter School in Scottsdale, received one year of probation for allegedly bashing the face of his boyfriend's 6-year-old into a door hinge.
We say "allegedly" because Chen was never convicted of the felony count of child abuse for which police thought he should be prosecuted. Instead, he was allowed in September to take a plea deal for hindering prosecution, a misdemeanor.
Court records show that an injury the child had received just prior to the alleged child abuse incident complicated the case.
Chen was at home with his boyfriend's two girls, the boyfriend being out of town, when the 6-year-old woke him up from a nap. According to the girl, Chen slammed the girl's face into the metal hinge of a door frame at least twice.
Chen reportedly admitted what had happened to police, who investigated more than a week later after the kid showed up at school with "significant" bruising from her forehead to her cheek, court records state.
From our April 21 article about Chen's arrest:
He'd warned the girls twice that day not to make so much noise while he was trying to sleep.
Chen confessed that "on the third warning, he got out of bed and grabbed the 6-year-old by the arm," records states. "He walked her into the master bedroom and closed the door. He then pushed the back of her head into the corner where the wall meets the door. The defendant said when he pushed her, the 6-year-old struck her head into the metal hinge that holds the door. He said when the 6-year-old rebounded from the impact, he grabbed her and pushed her again into the same area."
The girl's older sister and Chen tended to the 6-year-old's bleeding forehead immediately afterward.
But Chen's defense attorney, Cindy Castillo, did some digging and found that the girl had bonked foreheads with another girl at her after-school program a couple of days after the alleged abuse. She argued in a motion to dismiss the case that police didn't take that documented incident into account days later when they investigated the allegation against Chen.
With the evidence suddenly murkier than expected, prosecutor Marischa Gilla offered Chen a plea deal on the lesser charge. Chen, who had pleaded not guilty to the abuse charge, took the deal.
Chen also received a sentence for jail time, which he satisfied with the 37 days he'd served in the clink after his arrest.
He was fired from his job at Basis by May, and school officials said he won't be returning.
When his term of probation ends, however, and without the felony conviction, we imagine he'll get return to a classroom someday, if a school will have him.