Suffield superintendent, former Parks & Rec supervisor arrested in child abuse probe

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SUFFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Superintendent of Suffield schools and the former Parks and Recreation supervisor have been arrested Thursday for allegedly not reporting suspected child abuse. 

Police say that 68-year-old Karen Berasi, of Suffield, who is the Superintendent of Suffield Public Schools, and 58-year-old Cynthia M. Fisher, of Windsor Locks, who is the former Parks and Recreation Supervisor, were both arrested after a criminal investigation into two separate and unrelated allegations that they failed to comply with the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and/or neglect.

Both women turned themselves in to police and were charged with report of abuse or neglect by mandated reporter and were each released on a promise to appear. 

Late Thursday morning, the Suffield Board of Education released the following statement to school district families and staff.

A warrant for Karen Berasi’s arrest has been issued by the Suffield Police Department in connection with a criminal investigation into whether Ms. Berasi failed to comply with her obligations as a mandated reporter under Connecticut law. We wish to assure the community of Suffield that the safety and welfare of our students remains our foremost concern. We are focused on moving our district forward in the best interest of our students. 

The Board would like to thank Mark Winzler, our Interim Superintendent, and Michelle Zawawi, our Assistant Superintendent, for their extraordinary leadership during this time of transition. We look forward to their continued leadership of our school district as we strive for educational excellence. We are also grateful for the dedication and professionalism shown by our administrators, teachers and staff during this time.

The Board accepted the retirement of Karen Berasi earlier this week, effective June 30, 2019. She has been, and will continue to be, relieved of all duties. We anticipate initiating a search process for a new Superintendent of Schools within the next several weeks.

The incident remains under investigation. 

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