This is Timothy Symington from Wilbraham.
Tim is a former Longmeadow Middle School teacher who made headlines in 2017 for all the wrong reasons:
Symington was accused by multiple students of inappropriate conduct in 2016 after a whistle blower began sending documents to parents and school officials, alleging that he had sexually abused his own children over a decade earlier.
It began in 2015 when the whistle blower began to send documents from a civil lawsuit to parents and school officials, alleging that Symington had sexually abused his own children, one of whom was now suing him. The documents contained copies of the lawsuit, depositions, and evidence, alleging that he sexually assaulted his 5 year old daughter Jade, and his 9 year old son Connor, during visits to his apartment after a divorce.
Superintendent Marie Doyle placed Symington on leave for 2 days and did an investigation. She contacted the Holyoke Police Department, which had investigated the claims, and Detective Jennifer Sattler determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Symington, so the district reinstated him.
“It’s my opinion that somebody was trying to harm him by sending this to parents throughout the community,” Doyle said in the January deposition.
However, both children to this day (who I spoke with and are now adults) insist that they were sexually abused by their father. In 2004 Symington agreed in probate court to never be allowed to see them for the rest of his life, which seems like an odd thing to agree to if he had done nothing wrong.
The allegations in the lawsuit filed by his estranged son and ex-wife Cheryl, prompted multiple students to come forward alleging inappropriate conduct on Symington’s part. The district once again launched another investigation, and this time they interviewed multiple students who all told similar stories, along with guidance counselors and teachers. By this time Superintendent Doyle’s opinion on Symington’s guilt had changed, and due to the overwhelming evidence against him Symington resigned in disgrace.
In 2015, Marie Doyle, then superintendent of the Longmeadow Public Schools, sent a letter home to parents. Rumors had begun circulating about longtime Glenbrook Middle School teacher Timothy Symington after a packet from an anonymous sender was first mailed to school committee members. Then it was sent to 10 district families. In that packet were copies of a civil lawsuit alleging the Glenbrook social studies teacher had sexually abused his own children a decade earlier. Doyle placed Symington on paid administrative leave and an investigation was launched. But in her letter to parents, Doyle reassured them the investigation found Symington was a “responsible teacher” who “treats students appropriately.” Symington was reinstated.
By time of the second deposition, in May 2016, following Symington’s resignation, Doyle offered a much different assessment.
According to the transcript, one of the lawyers present asked the superintendent, “Has your opinion changed with respect to” Symington being a good teacher?
“Yes, it has,” she replied.
Doyle spoke in detail about the district’s second investigation of Symington in a May 3, 2016, deposition connected to that lawsuit — filed by Symington’s son and his ex-wife in Hampshire Superior Court — a transcript of which MassLive obtained. According to Doyle, at the beginning of 2016, seven students complained about Symington to a guidance councilor, prompting the superintendent to once again place him on paid administrative leave. This time the findings were numerous and disturbing, Doyle told the deposing attorneys.
“Reports were filed with DCF in all instances where the neglect or abuse of a child was raised by the allegations,” O’Shea said.
“(Students) feel he responds in a more angry fashion than other teachers. He gets upset about things, and that scares them,” she said. “He gets angry. His face turns red. He yells at them. They weren’t sure, when he would say he had a golf club and would hit someone with it, whether he really meant it or not. Some students will tell you they thought he was joking, and others will tell you they weren’t sure if he was serious.” Students also said Symington once referred to himself as “Tim the (student’s name) killer” in the forum on his teacher website, Doyle said.
The superintendent agreed, adding, “They mentioned, in particular, that he didn’t let go. One of the students said it was cold in the room, a female. So, he went and got his jacket, put his jacket over her shoulders and then kept his hand on her shoulders for what the student described as an uncomfortable amount of time.”
Some comments Symington allegedly made in front of classrooms defy belief — like saying women shouldn’t have the right to vote. Following the student interviews — which Doyle said corroborated one another — and findings in hand, the district scheduled an investigative hearing. Symington was to appear before Allen for questioning.
It never happened. Attorneys on the two sides — representing the school district and Symington — reached an agreement to postpone the hearing, giving Symington an opportunity to resign. He did, Doyle said in the May 3 deposition, submitting a one-sentence letter to the district on Feb. 11.
Unfortunately, as schools often do, the district agreed to wipe his personnel record clean and never mention the allegations to future potential employers, because it’s easier and cheaper for districts to settle than it is to litigate with the union.
As part of the agreement, the district promised to cease its investigation of Symington, wipe his personnel record clean of any reference and say nothing to future potential employers.
The whistle blower was Symington’s ex-wife’s new husband, Paul Silvernail. Full disclosure – Paul is an avid supporter of Turtleboy and a follower of the blog. He has been a customer of the Turtleboy business, and in August I rented a house he owns in Truro for 3 nights and brought my children there for a short vacation.
Paul Silvernail married Symington’s ex-wife Cheryl, and since then Symington’s estranged children Jade and Connor call him Dad. He and Cheryl have gone on to have two children of their own, who I have met. Symington has also remarried and has a teenage son.
Paul has been relentless in exposing Symington, but since he is married to Symington’s ex-wife it was easy for Longmeadow to dismiss the allegations as part of a nasty custody battle during a divorce. Symington’s attorneys have argued that the allegations made by his children were coached by Paul and Cheryl. Paul also comes across in emails as abrasive, and it’s easy to dismiss him as crazy. He throws around the word pedophile rather freely, and accuses anyone who doesn’t respond to him of being involved in the coverup.
I won’t lie, when he began to CC me on this story 3 years ago I was hesitant to get involved because of his tone in the emails. I also didn’t have the time and resources to investigate 20 year old allegations, in a story that had already been covered by Masslive.
However, recent events changed my view of this story and prompted me to look into it more. Upon further investigation I believe that Silvernail’s tone and behavior are that of a concerned and disgusted parent, who refused to stay silent as the man who he believes sexually assaulted his children remains not only free, but a well respected member of the community.
As a result of Symington’s agreement to resign from Longmeadow he was able to keep his teaching license and continue to apply for jobs where he would be around children. It has been Paul Silvernail’s mission since then to expose Symington and prevent him from being around kids.
In July of 2019 Symington had a teaching job offer from the Diocese of Springfield rescinded after they did a Google search for him and found the Masslive article.
In October of 2019 Silvernail discovered that Symington was an adjunct professor at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner. Silvernail alerted campus police, who did a Google search for him and the school found out about the allegations.
In August of 2021 Symington was offered a teaching position at American International College (AIC) in Springfield, but two weeks later the offer was rescinded after they did a Google search.
However, at some point he was able to obtain employment with the Wilbraham Public Library. He is currently listed on their website as a librarian, and has an email contact.
In September of 2022 Silvernail discovered this link from a local Wilbraham newspaper, which said that Symington was running a summer reading program that 504 children signed up for:
At the Wilbraham Public Library, the children, teen, and adult summer reading programs started on June 18 and ended on Aug. 13. In total, the youth services had 504 children and teens sign up. This was the first summer adult services librarian Tim Symington was doing the program. “I didn’t have any expectations,” he said. “I was encouraged by the number of people who did come in and signed up.”
Apparently the Wilbraham Public Library either failed to do a basic Google search into Symington, or was aware of the allegations made against him and felt comfortable allowing him to be around children.
When Silvernail discovered this he did what he always does – sent out an email on September 21 to all library employees alerting them about Symington’s past.
As you can see, his tone is hyperbolic and aggressive, which makes it easier for people to dismiss him as a crackpot. The mentioning of coverups by judges, detectives, and politicians, as well as the comment about liberals, makes him come across as a politically motivated crazy person. In followup emails he said that anyone who would hire Symington was also a pedophile, alleged that Maura Healey and Alex Morse were in on the conspiracy (she never returned emails or letters he sent to her office about it), and mentioned that he was hoping that I would write about this. He demanded that they fire Symington.
I won’t lie, it made me initially hesitant to get involved as well. However, if my children were sexually assaulted and the man who did it was a local town librarian, I’d be pretty upset that no one was listening to my concerns as well.
I have a healthy distrust for public officials, but I found it hard to believe that Holyoke Police Detective Jen Sattler would intentionally cover up the rape of a child. With that said, everything Silvernail is alleging is verifiable and documented on a website he owns called WhyYourChildrenWereHarmed.com.
The Silvernails have accused Detective Sattler of covering up for Symington because she is friends with several members of his family on Facebook, and was seen hugging them outside of a probate courtroom.
In her deposition for the 2016 lawsuit Sattler admitted to being Facebook friends with his family because they all went to high school together, but denied they were friends in real life.
Silvernail alleges that Sattler has a history of not believing children who have accused adults of abusing them. He cited a 2014 Hampshire Gazette story about a girl who made accusations against her swimming coach, which were investigated by Sattler. The girl’s mother said that Sattler told her that her daughter “didn’t act like a regular victim.” The Holyoke Police adamantly deny that Sattler said this.
According to Sattler’s 2004 report Cheryl Silvernail alleged that her daughter was touching herself in the bathtub, and the children told her that Symington watched them bathe, touched their genitals, had his son touch his pubic hair while his penis was erect, and other horrifying things that I won’t go into detail about.
Five year old Jade preferred to communicate what happened to her by drawing pictures. Here’s an example.
It’s not clear why Sattler chose not to press criminal charges against Symington. The only explanation I can come up with is that she believes the children were coached to say these things, or she was covering for her friends.
Paul and Cheryl have been relentless in pursuing these charges against Symington, and can come across as overbearing. Although I understand the concerns about coaching, and that Symington has rights as well, I spoke with 24 year old Jade on the phone and she was adamant that Symington raped her. She is very credible, and has no reason to lie. Connor has also been telling the same consistent story for years.
What is not deniable is that Symington agreed to never see his children again, enroll in a 40 session class at the Men’s Resource Center in Amherst to learn about boundaries, meet with a therapist, and was kept away from his children by DCF after the initial allegations were made.
What’s also undeniable is that after these allegations were sent to Longmeadow by Paul Silvernail, at least 7 girls came forward to tell similar, consistent stories about inappropriate comments and behavior from Tim Symington. However, he denies the allegations completely.
Tim Symington was put on leave by the Wilbraham Library after Silvernail contacted them. After that he filed for a harassment protection order in Palmer District Court to prevent Silvernail from “harassing” him. He admits in his affidavit that Silvernail never directly contacted him, and says that he has PTSD and is unable to get a job because of Silvernail contacting his employers.
Mr. Silvernail has the First Amendment right to alert anyone he wants about allegations made against Symington. If what Silvernail is saying is true then the proper legal action is to sue him for defamation, which would likely go nowhere. This is just an attempt to silence someone’s free speech because it’s making it harder for him to obtain jobs around children. Harassment protection orders exist to protect people who have legitimate reasons to fear for their lives. Mr. Silvernail is not threatening to physically harm Symington, who could get a job in sales, or construction, or anything else really. But he keeps choosing jobs to be around children or young people.
The hearing was held two weeks ago today and the judge still has not ruled on it. We obtained the entire court proceedings, and they’re pretty shocking. Both adult children spoke as witnesses and testified that Tim Symington raped them. If what they are alleging is true, then Silvernail’s actions can’t be malicious. Regardless, his speech is protected by the First Amendment. Symington takes the stand at the 1 minute mark, Jade at 30:00, and Connor starts at 35:30.
Under cross examination Symington said that only one student accused him of misconduct, which directly contradicts the court records. According to documents there were 7 children who made accusations. He said that the Masslive article was incorrect, but didn’t explain why he wouldn’t comment for the story, why they said that 7 students accused him, or why he didn’t try to do anything to get the story taken down. Two weeks later and the judge still has not ruled on the matter.
Tim Symington left his job as a middle school teacher without putting up any sort of resistance after 7 children accused him of misconduct. He lied about that in court in order to try to obtain an order, and is using the courts to try to silence speech that he doesn’t like. He can accuse his own children of being coached to allege that he raped them for the past 20 years, but he can’t say that those 7 students were coached by their parents to do the same. He has no plausible explanation for why he gave up this union protected job without a fight.
The Longmeadow Public Schools did nothing of substance when first alerted to the allegations and continued to allow him to be around children. They helped cover up what he had been accused of when he left and made it easier for him to obtain employment elsewhere. The problem was someone else’s.
Symington could pursue any line of work he wants to, but he repeatedly chooses to pursue work around children. Were it not for Paul Silvernail the Wilbraham Public Library would not know about any of this, despite the fact that the Masslive articles is the first thing that comes up when you search his name.
Detective Sattler went to high school with members of Tim Symington’s family, but being Facebook friends with someone doesn’t mean you are friends with them in real life. She could be covering for them, but there is no direct evidence of that.
The bottom line is that Symington should thank his lucky stars that he’s not in jail, and that the biggest problem he has is being unable to obtain further employment around children.