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Custodian Arrested After School District Found in His Favor

According to court records, Darien school district officials said they couldn't substantiate the accusation that a custodian grabbed and hurt a teacher, but Darien police decided after further questioning that they could prove it.

Before Robert Munro on a charge he assaulted a teacher when he grabbed her hand at , school district administrators and concluded that they could not substantiate her charge.

She then went to , who later said they found an inconsistency in Munro's answers to them. Police also said they found he failed a polygraph test which asked him three questions about the incident.

Those and many other previously unreported details are in the arrest warrant application and other documents filed in state Superior Court in Stamford.

The records commonly become public after a first court appearance. In Munro's case, that happened on Thursay, Aug. 9, not the originally scheduled date of Aug 13.

Munro is charged with second-degree breach of peace and second-degree providing a false statement to police.

The documents filed in court clear up some questions raised about the case by Patch readers in the comments section of the initial report about the case.

[Editor's note: Patch, like most news organizations, does not normally name people whom police have identified as victims of crimes.]

Teacher's account of the incident

The teacher, a Stamford resident in her 30s, gave police this account of the incident, according to her signed statement and police reports (it amounts to an accusation and, like police statements about the case, has not been proven in court—Munro may dispute all or part of what the teacher or police say here):

Before April 30 she had verbal altercations with Munro. At about 9:10 a.m on Monday, April 30, she was standing in the foyer of the school when Munro came by and started speaking with her.

She wrote: "I mentioned how it would be nice if the summer rogram was at Holmes School instead of at the high school."

Munro responded, "Don't ever let me hear you say that again," and he grabbed her left wrist, squeezing it hard.

The teacher told Munro he was hurting her, and he responded by squeezing harder, then eventually let go.

She told him again that he had hurt her, then began to walk away. Munro then asked her if he could look at her hand. She replied by saying that he had hurt her. Munro then took her hand, tapped it lightly, and said: "There. Is that better?"

At that point, she said, she pulled her hand away and immediately walked off. No one else saw the incident.

She initially didn't make a complaint, but her pain increased, her left hand and wrist began to swell, and she had a limited range of motion, so at about 9:15 a.m., Wednesday, May 2, she spoke with an assistant principal, Adam Carley, who had her fill out a worker's compensation form and speak to the school nurse.

She then went to Stamford Hospital's Tully Health Center where, she later told police, doctors told her she had a hairline fracture to a bone. She authorized police to look at her medical records.

On Friday, May 4, the teacher met with school district officials and members of the Darien Board of Education, who conducted an investigation but told her they found her allegations unsubstantiated.

The investigation continues

Darien police Detective Saverio Buccuzzi, who led the investigation, provided the following information (which amounts to an accusation not proven in court) in police reports and his arrest warrant affidavit:

On May 15, the teacher, with her attorney, Thomas McCabe of Darien and New York City, visited the Police Department Headquarters, where the teacher submitted a sworn, written statement and spoke with police, asking that Munro be arrested.

The next day, Boccuzzi and Detective Mark Cappelli spoke with Munro at his home. Munro told police he saw the teacher when she arrived at school and later near the copy room, but that he never touched her. He never spoke to her about summer school, either, he said.

On May 22, Munro visited Police Department Headquarters with his attorney, Christian Bujdud of Stamford, and wrote his own sworn, written statement. In it, Munro never said he touched the teacher.

"Before going into the building, I saw [the teacher] walking in," Munro wrote. "I smiled and said 'Hi,' and continued on my way." He then did some other things and then "brought yellow & blue paper to copy room from supply closet."

He said he first saw the teacher sometime between 8:47 a.m., when he received a call on an unrelated matter and some time before 9 a.m.

Munro wrote that he then did some other things and at "about 9:20 passed [the teacher] by copy room as I was coming out of office heading to cafe." That was the last time he saw her that day, he wrote.

(continued below)

_________________________________________________________________

Sidebar: Timeline in the Custodian-Teacher case:

About 9:10 a.m., April 30 (Monday) — According to the teacher, Munro has a confrontation with her in which he squeezed her hand. He has disputed that there was a confrontation.

About 9:20 a.m., same day — Munro said in his May 22 written affidavit that at about this time he passed by the teacher while carrying copy paper. On June 20, he told a Darien police detective that he had contact with her wrist by accident, according to the detective.

May 2 (Wednesday) — The teacher, after days in which the pain in her left hand and wrist beecame worse, spoke with Holmes School Assistant Principal Adam Carley, completed workers' compensation paperwork, met with the school nurse and then went to Stamford Hospital Tully Center for an evaluation that afternoon.

May 4 (Friday) — The teacher was interviewed by school officials and Board of Education officials.

May 15 — After the Board of Education conducted an investigation and found her allegations unsubstantiated, the teacher and her lawyer, Thomas McCabe of Darien and New York City, visited Darien police and said they wanted Munro arrested.

May 16 — Police Detective Saviero Boccuzzi and another detective meet with Carley at Holmes School and with Munro at his home. Munro said he never touched the teacher in any way.

May 22 — Munro and his lawyer, Christian Bujdud of Stamford, visited Darien police and again said he never touched the teacher. Munro submits a written affidavit.

June 20 — A polygraph examination is held by Connecticut State Police. State police say that in Munro's responses to questions "deception was indicated." Munro is again asked about what happened and then said he may have collided with the teacher that day and had contact with her wrist as he carried a box of copy paper.

June 27 — Boccuzzi notes on the record that he intends to apply for an arrest warrant for Munro.

July 9 — Boccuzzi submits the arrest warrant application.

July 19 — A prosecuting attorney signs the arrest warrant application.

July 24 — Judge Kenneth B. Povodator approves the arrest warrant.

Aug. 2 — Munro, having been informed of the arrest warrant, turns himself in at Darien Police Headquarters.

Aug. 9 (Thursday) — Munro is arraigned in state Superior Court in Stamford.

Sept. 5 (future) — Munro's next scheduled appearance in court.

_________________________________________________________________

Boccuzzi's reports also gave the following information:

Munro also said he was willing to take a polygraph examination. Police arranged to have Connecticut State Police conduct the examination on June 20.

Munro was asked three questions:

  • Did you grab that woman's wrist on April 30th?
  • Did your hand touch that woman's wrist on April 30th?
  • Did you touch that woman with any part of your body on April 30th?

State police Detective Brian L. Narkewicz, who conducted the polygraph examination, told Boccuzzi that Munro's answers indicated deception—that Munro wasn't telling the truth.

Narkewicz and Boccuzzi again questioned Munro. In a June 27 police report, Boccuzzi wrote:

"Detective Narkewicz spoke to Munro to advise Munro he was deceptive in his answers. Munro said he ran into [the teacher] by the copy room as they were both coming around the blind corner. Munro then said he had contact with her wrist by accident.

"I then spoke to Munro. I reminded him that he had previously stated he only passed by [the teacher] by the copy room as he was coming out of the office. Munro then responded by saying he was carrying a case of copy paper into the copy room when he ran into [the teacher] and the box may have struck her arm. We then ended the interview, and I transported Munro back to police headquarters.

"I will be applying for an arrest warrant for Robert Munro."

Charley August 14, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Kindly remind me why the name of the accuser is not published? Meantime, reads like we have gone French and Munro is guilty until proven innocent.
Josh August 14, 2012 at 02:31 PM
This is why you don't talk to the police. Ever. This man talked his way into an arrest. (Yes, maybe he did it, but maybe he didn't. The truth doesn't really matter anymore because the police think he did it, and that's enough for them.)
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Arrested people get a chance to be declared not guilty by a court. People that police have determined are victims don't get that chance if others who read about an incident decide to think ill of them. If someone thinks he or she is a victim of a crime, I don't want to discourage them from reporting an incident to police. When an adult is arrested, it's more important that the public know about it than that the arrested person's name not be publicized. (I make an exception in most domestic violence cases within a family.) I'm not sure what extraordinary circumstances would cause Patch to publish the name of a victim, unless the victim consented, although that might happen sometime—but not in this case.
Charlene August 14, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I wonder... if Rob is found not guilty in court, will he be able to go back to working for Holmes Elementary School? Will parents and teachers think differently of him?
Cath August 14, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I'm with Josh. We don't know what the teacher did or said either. Did she threaten him? Was she just plain mean? He didn't just grab her out of the blue. How do we know she's not just super fragile and old and broke her wrist easily? I just think there are two sides to every story. Police think a lot of things that don't actually happen.
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Charlene, he's reportedly quit the job.
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 11:43 PM
According to him, she said nothing and he did nothing but bump into her. She's in her 30s.
MTA-Stamford August 15, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Has anyone looked into the teacher's history? Has she filed and won frivolous lawsuits in the past? I'd bet money she's planning to sue the Darien School System.
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Someone with the same name as the victim in this case won a lawsuit against another employer several years ago. In that case, there were similar complaints from, I think, about a dozen employees who joined in the suit. When someone wins, it makes it harder to call it frivolous. In the present case, police investigated and made their own determination. They didn't just rely on what the teacher said.
Peter August 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Cops have a saying: "Loser goes to the hospital; winner gets arrested. Let the judge sort it out". Its a simple rule on the street and often followed.
Be Investigative August 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Ain't that the truth. Just ask Bryan Jennings... Cabbie takes him on by kidnapping him and Jennings manages to escape. And then Jennings gets arrested? Same garbage, different case. The Darien Police force is the biggest group of bullies ever put together. And we pay them...
max September 03, 2012 at 12:07 PM
So what happened on aug 9th? "Aug. 9 (Thursday) — Munro is arraigned in state Superior Court in Stamford"

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