Three weeks ago, the parents of a Silver Spring teenager learned that their autistic son may have been sexually abused by an educator. The 15-year-old talked to police. Days later, the family went to see a protective services worker.
“We drove by the school,” the boy’s father recalled Tuesday. “He began to literally rip pieces of the door panel off the inside of our car.”
The father spoke at a news conference during which Montgomery County police revealed new details of the case, including that the female suspect had allegedly fled to Hong Kong.
“It’s challenging for him,” the father said of his son. “Because with autism, he does not display his emotions but he feels them deeper than most of us.”
The suspect, Yee Tak Sharon Kui, 25, was an educational assistant at the Frost School, a nonpublic school in Montgomery that serves children with behavioral disabilities, autism and other special needs.
Kui is charged with sexual solicitation of a minor, sex abuse of a minor and two counts of third-degree sex offense. Police said that in November, she twice visited the boy at his home — apparently on Sunday mornings, while his parents were at church — and fondled him and had sexual intercourse with him.
“Because of my son’s autism,” the father said, “his trauma will be long, and it will be revealed slowly.”
Kui, who police said is from China, graduated from the University of Maryland in 2011, according to the university. In an interview, one of her friends said she was stunned by the allegations.
“I don’t think she’s the kind of person that would do this kind of thing,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy.
The teenager disclosed that he and Kui had been sending text messages to each other and talking on the phone, and police learned that they had exchanged sexually explicit messages, according to charging documents.
According to police, Kui visited the boy’s home Nov. 3. Six days later, she sent him a text message and asked if he would have sex with her, according to an arrest warrant filed in the case. Kui returned to his house Nov. 10, a Sunday, authorities said.
The next day, the teenager’s parents, school officials and police were starting to piece together what happened, according to documents and police officials. On Nov. 12, detectives applied for an arrest warrant in the case. By then, they already knew the time to act was tight.
“On Nov. 11, 2013, during a telephone conversation with the victim, the defendant mentioned she would flee the country rather than go to jail,” detectives wrote in a statement of charges.
When police tried to apprehend Kui, they learned that she had left the country, said Montgomery Assistant Police Chief Russ Hamill.
Police said that she might be traveling with her boyfriend and that she flew out of New York.
Hamill said that although all cases involving child victims are upsetting, this case is particularly difficult because the child’s parents trusted Kui.
“When you take the special circumstances of this case into account, it’s even more disturbing,” Hamill said.
He added later: “She needs to be held accountable and brought back here to Montgomery County and face these charges.”
On Tuesday, officials at the Frost School released a statement that said in part: “The Frost School community is deeply saddened by the unfolding allegations involving a former member of our staff. . . . We fully believe that this very serious and egregious allegation represents an isolated event.”