RAHWAY— City Councilman Bobby Akbar has been suspended from his job as a high school track and field coach but the politician firmly refused to answer any questions about the matter.
“I have no comment,” said Akbar in response to the question, “Were you suspended from your teaching job for inappropriate behavior with a student?”
Sources say Akbar, who is also a fifth grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, engaged in an inappropriate sexual discussion during a phone call with a member of the girl’s track team.
Rahway police are said to be looking into this matter but authorities do not comment on the record about ongoing investigations.
He also declined to elaborate on the circumstances that led to his arrest in February despite an earlier pronouncement that he wanted to tell his side of the story.
Members of the all-Democrat governing body declined to cast judgments on their colleague, who was missing from Monday’s City Council meeting. “Akbar will have his case decided at the school board meeting,” said Third Ward Councilman Jerry Scaturo.
Republicans faulted city officials for covering up the facts in these cases, although they acknowledged that none of the Democrats were defending Akbar.
“The City of Rahway is embarrassed by this man’s behavior and if doesn’t resign he will just add more shame to himself and his family,” said Patrick Cassio, chairman of the municipal Republican organization, which demanded that Akbar resign. “I think it’s time Mayor Kennedy stood up for the victims of this man and demand he resign instead of worrying about the politics of this situation by keeping quiet.”
Cassio also claimed Akbar, an assistant coach to the varsity football team, threw a player hard to the ground and verbally abused him during the Dec. 8 championship game, but was never disciplined by the school system.
“His suspension from his job as teacher after being arrested earlier this year shows a pattern of behavior unacceptable for councilman,” said Cassio.
Akbar did not show up at the city council meeting on Monday and the school board voted at its Tuesday evening session to suspend him with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation.
Akbar, who was arrested in February for a domestic violence assault on another Franklin Elementary School teacher, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace on June 10 in Clark municipal court. The councilman is married and the alleged domestic violence victim maintains that the couple did not have a relationship, however school officials forced her to resign after determining that she was dishonest about the incident.
Akbar was sworn into office as councilman representing the First Ward on Jan. 5.
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