A Miami dad was jailed over allegations he molested his non-verbal autistic son — after the child’s teacher reportedly used dubious methods to elicit the claims from the 7-year-old.
Jose Cordero, 50, spent more than a month in jail before his sexual battery case was dropped Wednesday due, in part, to the “controversial means” the teacher employed with the child, the Miami Herald reported.
Cordero was arrested in October following a report from the child’s elementary school teacher, Saul Fumero, who said he relied on a communication method called “hand over hand” to help the boy write down the alleged abuse.
Fumero’s technique, also known as facilitated communication, has been widely discredited, but the dad was taken into custody for 35 days and barred seeing his family.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that prosecutors were dismissing the case — in which Cordero was never formally charged — following the results of DNA tests that proved negative.
“Due to significant inconsistencies within the victim’s disclosures coupled with controversial means by which the disclosure was obtained, and a lack of corroborating witnesses, the state would be unable to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt at this time,” the report released Wednesday said.
Miami-Dade school officials haven’t announced whether they will investigate the case and teacher, who had no formal training in the technique used to procure the disturbing claims from the child, the Miami Herald reported.
Fumero, a J.W. Johnson Elementary School teacher, reportedly gave “assistance” to the autistic boy to keep a diary detailing how his dad molested him.
“[The child] wrote that his dad needed help, but was scared to go to jail,” according to an arrest report.
Following the report, Hialeah police interviewed the boy with the help of the special education teacher.
“I’m very serious,” the boy reportedly wrote.
In a second report, the school said that the child had revealed more disturbing details — again with Fumero — that accused his mother of abuse. In these claims, however, the language used was above the average 7-year-old’s comprehension level, according to school officials.
The school principal told investigators that she had “reservations regarding the disclosure” and transferred the boy to a different class, the Miami Herald reported.
Authorities interviewed Fumero who admitted to not having undergone any training in the “hands over hands” technique.
The investigation also revealed that the student was unable to write with his new teacher.
“To date, the victim has only written with Mr. Fumero,” prosecutors said in a report, according to the Miami Herald.