BRIDGEPORT - A former teacher's assistant from Dunbar School in Bridgeport spoke to News 12 Connecticut today for the first time since a controversy sparked this week over his criminal past.

Mack Allen spent one year working at Dunbar, and while school officials say they learned about his criminal history only recently, he claims he volunteered all the facts upfront.

Allen, 49, claims he is not a sex offender, and instead made an "unfortunate decision" as a teen. He says when he was 13 years old, a friend of his solicited a prostitute. Allen says he waited nearby while the two had sex behind a building. He says when police drove up, the woman "cried rape."

Allen says he ended up serving about a year in a juvenile camp, and later had more run-ins with the law for nonviolent offenses. He says he was upfront about his history when he went to work for FUSE, an educational management company. FUSE got him a job as an academic assistant, then as a community liaison at the Dunbar School.

Allen says he was abruptly fired in June because of his history. Allen's friends and family are now rallying to support him, pointing to the thousands of individuals and families he has helped as a counselor and as a volunteer.

As News 12 has reported, the Board of Education has voted to sever ties with FUSE as a result of the controversy.