October 11, 2019
Joshua Rhett Miller

An overnight staffer at a private school in Massachusetts has been charged with raping a cognitively disabled 19-year-old student, police said.

Phillip Houtman, 28, of New Bedford, surrendered to authorities Friday afternoon after being charged a day earlier with rape, indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability and related counts for sexually assaulting a special needs student at Chamberlain International School, Middleborough police said.

Investigators learned of the allegations against Houtman on Sept. 30. Police said he worked as an overnight employee at the school — a “co-educational therapeutic boarding and day school” that serves students ages 11 to 22 with developmental disabilities, according to its website.

Houtman, who worked at the school for less than a year, is expected to be arraigned later Friday at Wareham District Court, police said.

Scott Davignon, the school’s executive director, said he could not provide additional details on the allegations when reached for comment by The Post, citing an ongoing police investigation.

Houtman was removed from his post as soon as the accusation surfaced, WBTS reported.

New training for staff and additional instruction for students is now being planned at the school, according to the station.


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