Mary-Lyn BuckleyJun 19, 2018, 10:12 amJun 20, 2018, 2:38 pm

PD: Teacher’s assistant performed inappropriate sexual acts around children

Investigators say Kenneth Palmer also took up-skirt photos and videos of kids

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MAPLEWOOD — An employee who worked with special-education students in the South Orange and Maplewood school district is being accused of inappropriate sexual acts around children.

Kenneth Palmer, who worked at Jefferson Elementary School in Maplewood, is facing charges in Morris and Essex counties for allegedly fondling himself around children on more than one occasion.

Authorities say it all started last September after Palmer was allegedly caught pleasuring himself in ShopRite while trying to get the attention of an 8-year-old and a toddler that was between two to three years old. Prosecutors say surveillance footage captured Palmer in the act and, when asked, he admitted to the ShopRite incident.

After his initial arrest, officials say Palmer did not return to Jefferson Elementary.

During the investigation, authorities say they also found photos and videos of children Palmer allegedly took inside classrooms under desks and in hallways. Some of those were taken under the children's skirts without their knowledge.

FiOS1 News reached out to Jefferson Elementary, but officials chose not to comment. FiOS1 News also contacted the South Orange and Maplewood interim superintendent but have not heard back.

Palmer is being held at the Morris County Correctional Facility and is expected back in court on July 23.

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