American assistant language teacher (ALT) Jason Allison, 44, has been arrested by the Tokyo metropolitan police on the suspicion of molesting a 16-year-old girl, according to The Mainichi Shimbun.
According to authorities, Allison spoke with the 16-year-old in Roppongi on June 27, taking her back to his Shibuya Ward apartment, where he molested her. The second-year student reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Harajuku Police Station on June 29. Allison claimed that he thought the student was 18 and was quoted telling the police that “I didn’t know she was 16.” Officials allege that he did, in fact, know that she was 16-years-old; he is now being charged with violating a metropolitan ordinance to promote the sound growth of youth.
This would not be the first time Allison has been charged with molesting a minor; in 2011, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police arrested Allison for molesting a 15-year-old junior high school girl. He was summarily charged with violating the same ordinance.
The charges are serious, and schools are required to terminate the employment of anyone who has been arrested and charged with molesting a minor. Additionally, schools are not allowed to hire anyone who has been charged and formally indicted. As contracts are signed between ALTs and the individual schools, it can be a challenge for the schools to uncover criminal records of ALTs. Allison likely was aware of this, as he appears to have lied about his 2011 charges when applying to his current position and was subsequently hired. “We were not aware of the cases six years ago and we don’t know if we gave him any punishment,” a representative of the metro education board told the Mainichi Shimbun.
On October 20, an school official noted that they are now aware of Allison’s criminal past, stating that, “Documents from the time have been found.”
Japan, along with China, South Korea, and other Asian nations, is now taking steps to better vet their English teachers in an effort to stop this illegal behavior.