Former Latham Teacher Accused Of Rape: Frederick W. Walters, 60, Pleads Not Guilty

December 07, 2023
The Latham Centers in Brewster. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO The Latham Centers in Brewster. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

BREWSTER – A former vocational teacher at the Latham Centers was arraigned Nov. 29 on charges connected with the alleged rape of a 22-year-old female student with significant developmental delays. Frederick W. Walters of Brewster pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $5,000 bail.

Police opened an investigation on Oct. 9 after the student told her father about the alleged abuse that had taken place earlier in the day. According to a report by Brewster Police Det. Jacob Zontini, the student said Walters had driven her to his house on Great Fields Road and had taken off her clothes and touched her breasts and genitals. At the time, Walters had told his employer that he had driven the student to a home center in Dennis to pick up supplies for a project they were working on, but prosecutors said there is no evidence that he did so.

The alleged victim told investigators that just before the incident, Walters “told her that he would call the police and get her in trouble because she was hurting herself,” the police report reads. At the time of the alleged rape, the victim “told him ‘This is not okay,’ and that [Walters] stated, ‘I don’t like when you say that... don’t tell anyone, I don’t want to get in trouble.’”

Investigators say a DNA test from the state police crime lab showed evidence of male DNA on the student’s body. The alleged victim also provided an accurate description of Walters’ house, yard and pet dog, as well as his personal vehicle. A Latham official told investigators that it would be unusual for a staff member to drive a student in their personal vehicle, and that school vans — equipped with GPS tracking devices — were readily available for use.

Security cameras and credit card records failed to show evidence that Walters had visited the Dennis home center that day. The Latham Centers’ accountant told investigators that Walters “did not get a credit card, ask for petty cash,or submit a receipt during this outing when he stated he was buying supplies.”

Walters was charged with rape, indecent assault and battery on a disabled person and witness intimidation. He was freed on bail but required to wear a GPS monitoring device and to stay away from the alleged victim. He will return to court on Feb. 14 for a pretrial conference.

An employee of the Latham Centers for nearly 17 years, Walters was placed on paid leave when the allegations were made, and his employment was then terminated, spokesperson Karen Schwartzman said.

“Our highest priority is to keep our students safe and our staff works tirelessly to ensure that no student in our care is ever at risk,” Szhwartzman said in a statement. “That any person, while employed at Latham, could have acted toward a member of our community in such a way as to be criminally charged is an offense not only [to] the student he put in jeopardy, but to every member of our staff.”

A school psychiatrist told investigators that the alleged victim has the mental function of a 6-year-old, but “knows the difference between truth and lies, real and fake and right and wrong, just as any 6-year-old would,” the police report reads.

The alleged victim told investigators that there had been other assaults, saying that Walters had touched her inappropriately in a “downstairs” room at the school at a different time.

“Due to this new information, a second forensic interview will likely be conducted in the future to focus on any abuse that occurred on campus,” Zontini wrote.

Walters’ defense attorney, Nathaniel Amendola, did not respond to a request for comment. In published reports, he said he looks forward to proving his client’s innocence.

The Latham Centers provides residential programs and specialized services for people with complex special needs.