When a Fairfield police detective asked Tracey Abraham if he was touching himself in a classroom, the substitute teacher was astonished by the accusation.
“What?” he said in the first of two police interviews played during a hearing on a motion to suppress statements made to investigators.
He spent several minutes denying he fondled himself and saying he itched himself, and he continued those denials when Fairfield Police Detective Ellie King said there was a video that showed parts of him performing the alleged sex act.
“Until I see the video I just don’t know what they’re talking about,” Abraham said during Jan. 8 interview with King.
Abraham, 41, of Cincinnati, was arrested for public indecency, a first-degree misdemeanor, at the Fairfield Police Department after police said he fondled himself during a class at Creekside Middle School on Nilles Road. But his attorney, Louis Sirkin, said Abraham didn’t understand what was happening during his two interviews with police. Sirkin filed a motion to suppress his statements, including his confession.
Students and a teacher complained about Abraham’s behavior, and there were multiple videos recorded showing Abraham’s actions. One video by a 13-year-old female student was posted on social media. No students were physically involved in the alleged act, and police said he was never exposed.
Detective Ellie King said Thursday afternoon said Abraham acted “nervous” and “embarrassed” but his responses to her questions were not out of the ordinary, and when she showed him the video, he insisted he was “scratching my leg.” .
In the video, Abraham’s denial after seeing the video agitated King, who forcefully said, “That’s not scratching your leg, man. This didn’t just happen for a few seconds.”
Eventually Abraham admitted to King he came across pictures and video of a Facebook friend he found attractive.
“I was looking at some pictures on Facebook, and maybe I did get, you know, a little excited (about) it,” he said during the interview. “And maybe I didn’t realize what I was doing.”
But he said multiple times, “To the best of my recollection I was touching myself outside (his pants).”
Fairfield Municipal Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Oelrich said during the course of the two interviews by officers there were no indications Abraham was mentally disabled or delayed, though he did tell King he saw a psychiatrist.
Sirkin asked King if his client’s admission he saw a psychiatrist was “a red flag,” and King said, “No.”
King said it’s “not uncommon” for people to say during interviews they see a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Abraham appeared to not understand some terms King used for sexual activity.
King eventually got aggravated, raising her voice and asking, “Are you playing with me?” Sirkin asked if that was another red flag if he didn’t know common sexual terms, and she said.
“It did not occur that he was not playing with me,” she said.