25 Investigates: Substitute teacher arrested at Hingham Middle School

HINGHAM, Mass. — 25 Investigates has learned a substitute teacher was arrested at Hingham Middle School last week.

A Hingham Police spokesperson confirmed Charlotte Cody, 55, of Scituate, was called down to the school’s office and taken into custody without incident on Friday, Oct. 27, around 10 a.m.

A public police log shows Cody was arrested on a warrant filed in the state’s warrant management system.

A police spokesperson said the warrant was related to a probation violation out of Hingham District Court but no other information about the case was immediately available. 25 Investigates has requested a copy of the arrest report.

25 Investigates also sent an email to Hingham Superintendent of Schools Margaret Adams, Ed.D., requesting to know if a criminal background check was performed on Cody before she was hired and when parents were first alerted about the incident.

Massachusetts Law requires that all schools conduct a criminal background check (CORI) on current and prospective employees.

Two parents who contacted 25 Investigates reporter Ted Daniel said Dr. Adams sent an email about the arrest today. According to a copy of the email, no students witnessed the arrest.

“The information we received from the police indicated the matter was related to matters outside of the Hingham community,” Adams wrote in the letter to the school community. “Although personnel matters are confidential and the specifics of such matters may not be discussed, we take student and staff safety very seriously. In this case, the district followed all its regular employment procedures and processes.”

Cody was ordered by the court to wear a GPS monitoring device, and she had failed to schedule a mental health evaluation in connection with trespassing and an attempt to commit a crime case out of Scituate, 25 Investigates learned.

“Cody is well known to the department and is currently in court over several trespassing incidents involving Scituate High School and her daughter,” police wrote in court documents in September.

Documents also indicated that Cody was arrested in early October on animal cruelty charges in Scituate after several dogs were found living in filth at her Kent Street home.

“I could smell an overwhelming pungent odor of urine and feces. The ammonia level in the air was elevated enough to impede breathing,” a police officer wrote in an incident report obtained by 25 Investigates. “The house had unsafe living conditions and was in complete disarray. The floors were covered in a layer of urine and feces.”

At least three beagles were removed from inadequate-sized kennels in the home and taken to the Scituate Animal Shelter, according to police. Veterinarians said the dogs were emaciated, smelled, had stains on their fur, and long nails that prevented them from walking comfortably.

Cody also has a history of mental illness and was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, documents showed.

“Evidence overwhelmingly showed that the mother had long-standing mental health issues and that, when she was not on medication, she became paranoid and delusional,” the Department of Children and Families wrote in a report.

An investigation is ongoing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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