By Rachel Monahan , Ben Chapman
A Brooklyn gym teacher was arrested Tuesday for sexually abusing a female student — making him at least the 15th city Education Department staffer to face a criminal rap this year.
The arrest of Esran Boothe, an instructor at Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment, was revealed by authorities as the Daily News reported Tuesday that more DOE employees have been collared this year than in all of 2011, when at least 13 staffers were busted.
Boothe, 49, was busted for allegedly squeezing the buttocks of a 16-year-old student during school hours, DOE officials said.
Boothe, who has worked in city schools since 2003 and earns an annual salary of $72,848, was charged with third-degree sex abuse and forcible touching, police said.
He was put on desk duty following his arrest, and city schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott vowed to have him fired.
“A staff member who violates the trust of our students and families does not deserve to work in our schools — period,” Walcott said. “Anyone who does will be removed and we will do everything in our power to make sure they never work here again.”
The rash of arrests of teachers, substitutes and education aides this year has worried parents and spurred DOE officials to make changes in policy.
The DOE staffers who have found themselves in handcuffs this year have been picked up on a variety of offenses, ranging from rape and assault to theft.
The rash of collars began with the February arrest of Taleek Brooks, an aide at Public School 243 in Brooklyn, who is accused of filming child pornography inside the school.
After two other city school staffers were busted for sex abuses and subsequently found to have had previous allegations of misconduct, officials began a review of DOE employees who had been flagged for inappropriate behavior.
That effort identified eight other staffers who had been yanked from their classrooms for sketchy actions, including Jonathan Polayes, 60, a veteran teacher who has been investigated for classroom misconduct three times — yet still draws a city paycheck.
Boothe, who has no criminal record and lives in Brooklyn, has no prior allegations of sexual abuse, Education Department officials said. He was due to be arraigned Tuesday, and it was not immediately clear if he has a lawyer.