CAMILLUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The day 44-year-old Susan Orendorf started a new job as a teaching aide in a local school was the same day Camillus Police launched an investigation into suspicions she was abusing her son, NewsChannel 9 is reporting first.
Orendorf worked in a pre-kindergarten classroom at Holy Family School in Fairmount, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse confirms to NewsChannel 9.
Newly hired, she worked the first two days of school: Wednesday, September 7, and Thursday, September 8. She was no longer employed by Friday of the same week, a diocese spokesperson says.
Her first of work coincides with her son’s first day of school at the West Genesee Central School District when a school resource officer noticed signs of possible child abuse and launched an investigation.
Within two weeks, Orendorf was arrested and charged with multiple criminal accusations.
The diocese declined to share further information about the end of Orendorf’s employment, calling it a personnel matter.
In terms of student safety, Chancellor Danielle Cummings writes: “The Diocese of Syracuse is committed to the protection of all children and young people. Hiring practices in our Catholic schools include a criminal background check prior to a potential employee having access to children. If an adverse finding appears on a criminal background check related to any risk or harm perpetrated against a child or other individual, that individual would not be hired. Safe environment protocols are and continue to be among the priority issues in our Catholic schools.”
Holy Family wasn’t Orendorf’s first attempt to work in a school.
Last November, she was in the process of applying to be a teaching aide substitute in the West Genesee Central School District.
The Board of Education granted her “conditional” approval, according to records of the meeting.
“A conditional appointment is expressly conditioned upon the completion of the hiring process which includes all required paperwork and reference checks,” West Genesee’s superintendent explains to NewsChannel 9. He continues: “The hiring process for Ms. Orendorf did not continue past the conditional stage. Therefore, she never worked for West Genesee CSD in any capacity.”
Superintendent David Bills added it was the district that ended her hiring process. He didn’t say why.
Orendorf is charged with strangulation, imprisonment, forcible touching, and endangering the welfare of a child. The last charge is based on the boy’s younger sister being a witness.
An Onondaga County grand jury will hear the charges.
Orendorf’s attorney had no comment on her behalf.