A Scottsdale charter school teacher was arrested on Tuesday and accused of bashing the face of his boyfriend's 6-year-old daughter because she woke him up from a nap.
Chandler police arrested Qikai "Ben" Chen, 27, at Basis Charter School, where he works as a math teacher. Records show that Chen admitted to pushing the girl's head into a metal hinge on a door frame, twice, at his boyfriend's Chandler apartment.
The alleged abuse was discovered after the first-grader showed up to her elementary school on April 12 with "significant bruising" on the left side of her face, from her forehead to her cheek. When she told school staff members that she wasn't supposed to talk about what had happened, they called Child Protective Services.
CPS called the cops, who came to the school on Tuesday and interviewed the still-bruised child.
The girl told cops she'd been playing with her sister when Chen, annoyed at having been woken up from his nap, called her into the master bedroom. He pushed her head into the wall with the metal hinge three times, then told her to stay in "time out," court records state.
The girl's older sister later noticed that the victim's forehead was bleeding, and Chen administered first aid.
Upon hearing the story, police drove to Basis Charter school, took Chen into custody about 3:15 p.m. and read him his Miranda rights.
Chen admitted the incident happened about two weeks ago, while his boyfriend was out of town, police wrote in court documents. 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."
Chen went back to bed and tried to sleep for about 15 minutes, "but couldn't get much rest."
That's when he told the girl she could leave time-out. Later, he cleaned her wound and put ointment on it. He admited to cops that he "lost his temper," the report says.
Police are seeking a felony count of child abuse.
Arwynn Gilroy, spokeswoman for Basis, says that this was Chen's first year at the school. The math teacher passed a background check before he was hired and is also a certified teacher in Arizona, she says. He'd worked at a public school in the Valley previously, she believes.
Chen was put on administrative leave after his arrest "for an alleged domestic violence incident," and will remain on leave "until the legal process is concluded," Gilroy says.
"We do recognize this is a serious incident, and we're fully cooperating with police," she says.
An e-mail about Chen's arrest was sent to parents on Tuesday, she adds.
Gilroy tells us that the incident didn't involve a child or employee of the school -- at which point we let on that we'd just read the police report, in which Chen allegedly admitted he'd hurt a 6-year-old on purpose.
"Oh! Well, that's news to me," Gilroy says.
Somehow, we suspect Chen's leave might end on the early side.
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