exposing the dark side of adoption
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A Maplewood resident who works as a physical education teacher in New York was charged yesterday with multiple counts of sexual assault after a 21-year- old adopted son came forward and complained that he was the victim of the attacks beginning nine years ago.

Stephen Pratt, 43, was arrested at his Hughes Street home and charged with eight counts of aggravated sexual assault, four counts of sexual assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to a statement issued by Essex County Prosecutor Clifford Minor.

Pratt is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges today, said Ray Weiss, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office. Pratt told authorities he has been a teacher at The Friends Seminary, a New York City private school, for about 20 years.

An investigation began after the alleged victim, an Essex County resident, lodged a complaint with authorities that Pratt abused him beginning in November of 1983 after Pratt adopted him when he was 12 years old and brought him to Jersey City from the Dominican Republic.

It is alleged that the last offense took place April 14, 1989.

Weiss said the statute of limitations on prosecution of the case would expire next year.

According to the prosecutor's office, the alleged victim has married and is a father.

The prosecutor's office said that Pratt adopted the alleged victim in 1983 and then moved from Jersey City to Maplewood.

Weiss said most of the alleged offenses took place in the Jersey City and Maplewood residences.

Investigators from the prosecutor's office and Maplewood police participated in the arrest.

1993 Feb 25