A teacher is accused in the hideous rape of a 10-year-old girl. Now her grandmother has made a plea to ensure the agony that ripped apart her family never happens again. Finally, lawmakers are hearing the call to act.ENID ALVAREZ/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The grandmother of a 10-year-old girl who was allegedly raped three times by Bronx, N.Y., teacher Anthony Criscuolo is among family members demanding justice. ‘I don’t sleep. I can’t eat,’ Maria Reyes said Monday through a Spanish translator. ‘That beast took my life. He broke my heart.’ She spoke at a press conference held outside Bronx Criminal Court, where the accused educator waived his appearance to testify before a grand jury.
The tearful family of a 10-year-old girl allegedly raped by a Bronx, N.Y., teacher called on education officials Monday to pull predatory teachers from classrooms so that it never happens to another child.
And they demanded justice for the monster who ruined the girl’s life.
“I don’t sleep. I can’t eat,” the girl’s grandmother, Maria Reyes, said through a Spanish translator. “That beast took my life. He broke my heart.”
The distraught grandma spoke out amid a renewed push to make it easier for the New York City schools system to fire perverted staffers.
A Daily News investigation published Monday shows that education officials tried to fire 128 school employees since 2007 for sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships with students — but only 33 were actually axed.
Reyes, 52, said she didn’t want any other family to experience the pain she went through when she discovered the sick string of sexually explicit emails sent by Anthony Criscuolo to her young granddaughter last week.
Police say Criscuolo, an imposing amateur bodybuilder, sexually abused the girl at least three times — twice at the Bronx school where he teaches the fifth grade. Court records say he attacked her again inside a car with tinted windows at a Bronx parking lot.
The shocking details spelled out in court records show Criscuolo, 40, claimed a sick affinity for the child.ENID ALVAREZ/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
State Sen. Ruben Diaz and the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization held a press conference Monday with family members and friends of a 10-year-old allegedly raped by Bronx, N.Y., teacher Anthony Criscuolo.
“I like you,” he told her. “I’m doing this because I like you. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. If you feel uncomfortable, tell me to stop.”
He later apologized to the girl in an email.
“I was too rough,” he wrote, according to authorities. “Sorry. It’s normal. You may feel pain for a few days.”
Then the sicko asked, “How did it feel for you?”
The girl’s aunt, Lourdes Murphy, 37, fears other kids could be in danger.
“There are a lot of sick teachers abusing children,” said Murphy, who turned up for Criscuolo’s appearance at a Bronx courthouse Monday along with her relatives. “[Lawmakers] have to make a change, because it will continue. This is serious.”
Murphy, a lab technician, said the city needed to bounce perv educators from the classroom. She and other relatives gathered to attend a scheduled court appearance for the accused rapist. But he didn’t show up for his court date.
The coward waived his appearance to testify before a grand jury Monday. His lawyer, Michael Braverman, declined to comment after the hearing.BORIS KAYKOV
Bronx, N.Y., teacher Anthony Criscuolo is charged with two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, two counts of rape in the first degree, three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted of sexual assault, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
The teacher is charged with two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, two counts of rape in the first degree, three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. If he’s convicted of sexual assault, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison. The teacher is being held in lieu of $750,000 bond or $500,000 cash.
Flanked by relatives and state Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx), Reyes said she was upset she didn’t get a chance to face Criscuolo.
“He’s a coward,” she said through tears.
Addressing the media, she added, “I need your help so that the full weight of the law falls on top of that animal.”
Diaz said he would introduce legislation this week to ban school employees from Education Department buildings once they’re charged with sexually abusing a child.
Critics have pushed to overhaul the city’s process for firing teachers accused of predatory behavior — a system they say takes too long and leaves too many sickos on the job.
Criscuolo had a clean disciplinary record when he was arrested last week, but students said he put a ring on the finger of his alleged victim, danced suggestively with her in class and took kids on unauthorized outings — the type of creepy, yet not criminal, behavior for which the city should be able to fire educators, critics say.
State law mandates that independent hearing officers — selected by the teachers union and the city — determine the punishment of educators found to have committed misconduct.AMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Anthony Criscuolo, a teacher at P.S. 386 in the Bronx, N.Y., pictured, was arrested for allegedly raping a 10-year-old student twice at the school and once in his car.
But often, those hearing officers let accused teachers off with fines or suspensions, and send them back to work in schools.
Dozens of creepy teachers whom the city tried to oust have been able to hang on to their jobs for years, thanks to the clunky system for firing teachers, said former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, whose new advocacy group, the Parents Transparency Project, is pressuring the city, the teachers union and state lawmakers for change.
“This is not an issue where there should be any doubt,” Brown said.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said that the city was doing all it could to keep perverted teachers away from kids, but rules imposed by state law and the teachers union contract put firing power in the hands of hearing officers.
“We have taken every step imaginable to remove deviant employees from our schools despite huge constraints imposed at the behest of the teacher’s union,” Walcott said.
Only a small fraction of educators brought up on firing charges are terminated. Only 17 educators were fired for misconduct in the 2011-12 school year, out of 223 who were charged for termination.
Much-hyped legislation that would give city education officials, instead of state hearing officers, the power to fire creepy educators was introduced in Albany in May 2012, but it’s remained stalled since then.
Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have blamed the teachers union for thwarting lawmakers’ attempts to give the power to fire predatory educators to the city.The June 24, 2013 front page of the NY Daily News.
But union officials insist the city already has the strongest student protections in the state, and that officials have the power to suspend, investigate and automatically fire anyone found guilty of sexual misconduct.
With Erin Durkin.
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Here’s what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and mayoral candidates had to say about the difficulty of removing predatory educators from city classrooms.
Bloomberg (through spokesman): “The News asked the right question, and there is a simple answer for why we can’t fire them, and it’s just three letters: U-F-T.”
Christine Quinn: “It’s just common sense that sexual misconduct should be a deal breaker for anyone seeking to work in our schools and we must eliminate the barriers that get in the way of protecting our kids. That’s why I support legislation pending in Albany that would provide greater ability to remove anyone involved in sexual misconduct.”
Anthony Weiner: “We need a safe environment for our students and our teachers. There should be broad consensus around the idea that we need a quick and fair process to remove teachers who should not be around kids — I think we all should be able to agree on that premise.”
William Thompson: “I have zero tolerance for abuse of our kids in our schools. If someone is found guilty of abusing one of our students, they need to be fired. Period.”
John Liu (through spokeswoman): “There must be zero tolerance for any of this in classrooms or schools. Any individuals responsible for this kind of conduct should be removed immediately, and as mayor it would be a priority to speed up the adjudication process.”
Sal Albanese: “Even the sickest person is entitled to due process. If you did something sexual with a student and the worst thing that happened to you was losing your job, consider yourself lucky. I know a lot of folks who wouldn’t want you to make it past the parking lot.”
Joe Lhota: “It is simply unconscionable that sexual predators have been permitted to remain in our schools and even more egregious that the information was sheltered from parents. We must reform the system to put the proper procedures in place that mandate swift action.”
Bill de Blasio: “I think the new evaluation system helps us to streamline our handling of teachers in general, and I think it’s clear when there is that kind of misconduct we have to deal with it very, very brusquely.”Anthony Criscuolo, Books, Bronx courthouse, Bronx Criminal Court, Bronx Education, Bronx News, Bronx People, Bronx Tragedy, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Christine Quinn, Crime In The Bronx, DA, Department of Education, Education Department, High School, John Liu, law, Maria Reyes, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City schools, NYPD, Public School, State Sen. Ruben Diaz, The Bronx, William Thompson