Preschool teacher charged with sex assault of 3-year-old during naptime

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A preschool teacher at a suburban Philadelphia Roman Catholic school has been charged with sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl.

According to an affidavit, 32-year-old Michael Barbee, of Yeadon, Pennsylvania, is accused of forcibly touching the girl during nap time. Online court records don’t list an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Barbee teaches at Saint Francis of Assisi School’s Early Learning Center in Norristown. Police arrested him Saturday on 16 charges from indecent assault to unlawful contact. Investigators say he sexually assaulted the 3- year-old girl during naptime in a classroom after she called him stupid.

Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese, says Saint Francis Parish placed Barbee on administrative leave Friday after learning of the criminal investigation.

“These charges are serious and disturbing, Gavin said. “There were no prior indications that Mr. Barbee was involved in activity of this nature. Prior to beginning his term of employment with Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, appropriate criminal background checks as well as child abuse clearances had been obtained and he completed mandatory Safe Environment Training programs. ”

Police say they began investigating Barbee after the child complained of pain.

Barbee faces multiple child sex assault counts.

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