A New York high school drama teacher sexually abused multiple students, but a prominent private investigator says he has managed to avoid prison because the school district turned a blind eye.
Former Chappaqua teacher Christopher Schraufnagel headed up Horace Greeley High School’s theater program for a dozen years before students accused him of sexual abuse in June 2015, according to LoHud.com.
After a number of students began coming forward with allegations Schraufnagel had sexually abused them, Horace Greeley suspended him with pay. Schraufnagel later resigned on Sept. 4, 2015.
During Schraufnagel’s suspension, six of his alleged victims filed civil lawsuits in New York’s Supreme Court. Another student filed a seventh lawsuit in White Plain’s U.S. District Court. The lawsuits are still pending.
“John Roe” — the anonymous name given to one student who filed a suit — says he and another student were forced to perform oral sex on Schraufnagel while they were on a 2012 educational trip in Greece. Schraufnagel also took groups of students to Canada and Italy.
“During this trip, Schraufnagel drank alcohol every night to the point of inebriation and encouraged all of the students, including John Roe, to do so as well,” the lawsuit states. “One night, during the trip to Greece, Schraufnagel instructed John Roe and another [Horace Greeley] student to come to his hotel room. Schraufnagel plied both students with vodka and they became inebriated.”
Following Schraufnagel’s resignation from Horace Greeley, authorities arrested the teacher on Oct. 28, 2015, and charged him with a third-degree criminal sex act, felony and six misdemeanor counts, LoHud.com reported.
Schraufnagel later pleaded guilty on Aug. 4, 2016, in order to receive a lesser sentence, but the deal was rejected after New Castle Town Justice Douglas Kraus determined it was inadequate for its failure to add Schraufnagel to the official sex offender registry.
Schraufnagel also failed to appear for at least four court appearances.
A few months later, Schraufnagel pleaded guilty to his crimes once more and received a sentence that gave him three years probation, forced him to give up his teaching license and registered him as a Level 3 sex offender. He accepted the deal on Nov. 7, 2016.
“All the facts are there … and it was all covered up,” said private investigator Richard “Bo” Dietl, who is pushing federal prosecutors to file new charges. “The big question is why hasn’t anyone done anything about this?”
Dietl noted the school district and local authorities have seemed uninterested in pressing any federal charges that would land Schraufnagel in prison.
New Castle police forcefully investigated the case, and the district cooperated fully during that investigation, school district attorney Brian Henderson maintains. The investigation was not “obstructed by the Chappaqua Central School District or any of its employees or representatives.”
Dietl, however, has presented damning evidence to federal prosecutors, which should land Schraufnagel behind bars, the private investigator charged.
He said he cannot understand why the school district has not been more vocal about the scandal.
“I think that it’s unconscionable for this school district to turn a blind eye,” Dietl’s company president, Michael Ciravolo, said, according to LoHud.com.
Dietl’s list of past clients includes Roger Ailes, Steve Bannon and Don Imus.
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