High School Principal’s Arrest Stuns Upstate Town

Michael Rossi Accused Of Inappropriate Contact With Teen Boy

WASHINGTONVILLE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A trusted high school principal has been arrested and accused of forcibly touching one of his students.

CBS 2’s Lou Young reports the community of Windsor is stunned.

The school week was off to a chaotic start at Washingtonville High School following the arrest of long-time principal Michael Rossi for inappropriate contact with a student, police said. It’s all the residents are talking about here.

“All the teachers just look ashamed. The kids are going crazy, too,” junior Bob Mack said.

The case is built on text messages between Rossi and the unidentified 16-year-old boy. A friend of the alleged victim and recent graduate described some of the content.

“He was texting him, ‘Oh I want to give you money to do push-ups in my office and I want to take you out’ and it was just kinda, like strange,” Jessica Purcell said.

Rossi, who is out on $2,500 bail, lives in New Windsor. He’s married with two grown children.  Police said he met with the student at least once in his car where the alleged touching took place. Everyone who knows him is baffled by the news, even the police.

“It’s shocking to us. This is a person in authority. He’s the actual principal of the school. People look up to him for direction and guidance and something like this happens,” New Windsor Police Deputy Chief Rick Hovey told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

“I never … I’m … I’m … I don’t know what to say. You don’t understand. He’s the sweetest man you’d ever want to meet,” stunned neighbor Stacey Johnson said.

“He has a son that went to the school. He has a family. Why would he do that to his family?” Purcell said.

The school district, which has yet to say anything to students or parents about the incident, issued a one-line statement Tuesday afternoon saying Mr. Rossi is on administrative leave.

Police told Young there’s no reason to believe the alleged incident is part of a pattern.

More from Lou Young
  • Alec Bennett

    Michael Rossi was my teacher in high school and soccer coach when he worked at Hastings High School, and I can’t even begin to sing his praises highly enough. He was hands down the best teacher in our high school, and not only with academic stuff, but at helping kids through that hard time when they’re just becoming adults. He helped so many kids through hard times, and to this day I can hear his pep talks, so full of real sincerity and humanity. I’m 41 now and I can still hear him clearly, and I’m still thankful for all he did for me and my friends.

    Michael if you read this, please keep your head high no matter what happens. I wish I could help more than by just writing this testimonial.

  • F3

    Have not read all of the comments, but Advocate seems to be on the right track. One thing that we claim as United States citizens is that our Contstitution distinguishes us from others. Remember the Bill of Rights. This is not something you learn about in a govenrnment or civics class; it is operational and clearly important to the accused. Find yourself behind the eightball and you will see how important the concept of due process is to your freedom. Let the lawyers advocate. Let the creditable evidence decide the case.

  • doug anderson

    In america a person is guilty until proven not wait for the facts people wait for the facts

    • Lucifer

      The courts are run by criminals, they are rarely run by a constitutional authority. They have nullified juries, and evidence. They cover up all the time. High school principals are the least of it. Judges, lawyers and politicians engage in child prostitution all the time. This is why children and teenagers do not get a proper education. Why ? Its keeps you ignorant, down and easy pickings for sexual parasites. Notice how many young girls act overtly sexual. Read The Pedophocracy by David McGowan . Times Herald Record covers up and manufactures evidence all the time, as they covered up abuse, along with Guiliani back in the early 80’s about a West Point day care center. The world is run by satanic ghouls. Thats the truth.

  • John

    Michael Rossi is a true PEDOPHILE ingratiating himself to the majority of students but he paid kids to take off their clothes and work out and he watched and masturbated , Rossi paid the kids in money and that makes him a PIMP.No better no worse.6 other boys can attest to this but some love him even though he has betrayed them.That is the saddest and sickest aspect of Michael Rossi’s Pedophilia is blatant and yet he will not own up to it but demolish the same boys he has betrayed once, twice three times already. Michael Rossi is pure evil.

    • Lucifer

      do a search on a guy named Jeffery Epstein , he is a CFR member who was running a sex slave ring with very young girls. A Virginia Roberts came out and said she was one of his sex slaves. He plea bargained and got a 1.5 years sentence with work release on weekends, He was friends with Bill Clinton, Trump and Prince Andrew. If you knew someone was a pedophile, would you be friends with them ?

      • angel

        Most likely they wre friends with him because they did know. Birds of a feather……

    • John

      Rossi is using the classic stall tactic. He has recently fired his lawyer and postponed his next court appearance until June. Not the actions of an innocent person.

      • http://cornflakesonhudson.wordpress.com cornflakesonhudson

        if you are innocent, you dont need a lawyer and you shout your innocence from the rooftops

    • Lori

      John how come no one has come forward with these clames? Who are these other boys that can attest to this? And why haven’t they? If these are true clames as you state they haven’t been been brought to the proper authorities?As of now, the case against Mr Rossi seems to be showing little merrit in court.

  • Jeff Yalden

    I’m very saddened by these allegations. After experiencing what some kids can do via Trolling your Facebook page I can see how this might not be true. On the other hand, there is evidence and justice will prevail. It saddens me greatly that people have so much power to bring a teacher or administrator down today. A student or teenager can easily say, “Mr. or Ms. So and So looked at me wrong and made me feel uncomfortable,”, and immediately it’s like that teacher would be placed on administrative leave awaiting investigation.

    I am in great support of 95% of today’s teens. I work with them and have great respect for youth. However, I have seen what teens can do and it is frightening.

    May righteousness prevail.

  • Get Real

    i knew Rossi back in HHS and he was definitely creepy. WAY too involved in students lives. kids would spend a lot of time in his room. a small clique of them. it was always kind of creepy. I believe the allegations 100%.

  • Advocate

    Much to do about nothing. The accuser and his mother are bipolar and have turned everyones world upside down, many times over. Some of the angry comments on this board convinced of this mans guilt appear to be bipolar rants. Might be the same people.

    Also keep in mind, cops are not hired for their brains. They have been known to lack judgement among other intelligent attributes. Journalists are paid to fill time and space. Few care about fact finding and doing a thorough job.

    Help the facts. Scrutinize the accusers.

    • Lucifer

      Cops/courts/judges/government are part of the problem. They tend to cover up and lack any motivation to investigate. “Bipolar rants”? got proof ?
      Read “The Pedophocracy” by David McGowan , then we’ll talk. Until then the above ‘advocate’ sounds like a closet pedophile.

    • Reality

      …so, law ealnforcement officials are ignorant, journalists are unethical, the victim and his relatives are crazy…or…Rossi’s guilty…

    • Bess

      Wow, sounds like you are part of the problem.
      Who is it you advocate exactly?

  • timeless

    What can possibly take so long for what appears to be a fairly simple investigation? If at least some facts are available it would go a long way to help prevent further damage to the accused or the student(s).

    Whats the delay?

    • Lucifer

      The delay is that its an organized network of pedophiles.

  • don't touch my junk

    he did it and he has done it many times before.

  • dan

    It’s true about Mr. Michael Rossi and he has done this before.It will comme out sooner then later.

    • Lucifer

      People know how to lead double lives, they act like Mr Rogers but are closet pervert pedophiles. Same with Disney, all sold as family entertainment. If you remember Sigler in Middletown, an administrator, Selena Fischer was enabling Sigler to meet the boy. These people are in leadership positions, and seem to have some sort of organization. Our NAMBLA Public schools are being used by pedophiles to find their victims. Id yank my children out of school, and demand to be taken off the tax roles. Public schools are a complete an utter failure.

      • Nelson

        Michael Rossi picks kids that are from broken homes or may appear otherwise marginal.Rossi takes the kids to his basement and pays them.He admitted guilt to the cops and is now saying he’s innocent. Michael Rossi is guilty and he is putting his wife and kids through HELL.

    • Rich

      You need to contact the Sullivan County DA, Mr Farrell, who is prosecuting the multiple cases against Rossi…….or you can go to the Hastings police, if it happened there.

      Rossi must be stopped before he goes back for a third time!

  • Lucifer

    “Police told Young there’s no reason to believe the alleged incident is part of a pattern.” I dont believe that. CBS is censoring posts

    • Lucifer

      I have researched pedophilia for 30 years. They hide right under your noses, in your most hallowed institutions. Americans dont have clue how rampant it is.

  • J

    text messages dont’ lie. They must have solid proof of inappropriate texting or the police would not be talking at all. If they don’t they are in for a good law suit. You can’t make up a text! And stop trashing the victim until the facts are out there…its so wrong…same for Mr. Rossi. Lets wait and see.I feel sorry for his family.

  • Past Student

    I went to Hastings, and knew Mr Rossi well. He was a great man and still is. Some little kid gets mad at him and say’s he touched him? CBS…why are you showing kids laughing as they are interviewed? They are just happy to be on TV and will say anything to make that happen. He and his family will make it through this, and in the end the kid who made up this stuff will get his day in court. The girl who was interviewed too will get hers as well for lying. We need to teach people not to lie, and if you do lie, then there needs to be consequences.





  • Unidentified


  • Senior

    as a senior at washingtonville high school i can not believe these charges. Mr Rossi was not on the the Principle he was much more then that to all of his students he was a leader and a great mentor. I support him 100%. as for the kid who claimed Rossi did this i hope he is brought to justice.

  • Unidentified

    CBS sounds like it’s just looking for another story to put under their name, WHY PUT SOMETHING ON THE NEWS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ANY PROOF!?!?!?

  • WHS Junior

    I am a Junior at Washingtonville. I’ve been in a room alone with Mr. Rossi numerous times and never felt uncomfortable. Very professional man, and very kind and concerned primarily for the safety of his students. The student who accused him has had no problem announcing it to anyone willing to hear, as if it’s a medal of some sort.
    I’d like to see some proof.

  • member of community

    Sure lets wait until the background of the ‘accuser’ surfaces, lets not forget to wait for Mr. Rossi’s background to surface, the adult, the accused, and the one who authorities have to look into most.
    As students in high school you are in the position of looking up to your principal no one blames you for that but wait for all evidence to come into the picture and decisions to be made by the proper authorities, they make these decisions, you children unfortunately do not .
    Yes he was a very good man to the majority of the school, does that mean that he was incapable of harming a child, absolutely not.
    Sadly he was not arrested on a random empty accusation, these cases do not come and go after every complaint made. You children in high school know more than anyone how easy it is to track conversations, statements, pictures on your cellphones, in our society we have everything we need at our fingertips . The verdict of this case will be made based on facts and evidence not on accusations and opinions.
    Lastly I absolutely resent that ADULTS, and PARENTS above all have not remained neutral and silent during this process, because as adults and parents you are more than aware that your opinions affect the way your child thinks, and your opinion has now overshadowed knowledge they may have, for either side of the case and because MOST OF ALL if it is true, you may have silenced another child from coming forward, maybe even your own…


    the “mack kid” backed mr. rossi but CBS failed to air that portion of the interview. as a student at Washingtonville High School i am aware that CBS is making Rossi out to be a terrible person. HE IS AN AMAZING PRINCIPAL AND WOULD NEVER DO SUCH A THING. also the so-called “victim” is a pathological liar

  • joe b

    We are so quick to judge people. Lets get all the facts before we judge him. I have known this man for some time now. I have been to his home. My son has slept at his house. IF he is found guilty then we can judge him.

  • jenn

    That girl Jess is the lease credible source EVER. She graduated with me and still hangs out at the highschool and does drugs. These kids are so lost and instead of trying to ruin other peoples lives they should fix theres.

  • Kate

    I agree with all those on here who have left positive comments regarding Mr. Rossi’s character. He is an amazing person and an award winning educator/administrator. For those people who say we are biased…I guess you forgot Mr. Rossi IS INNOCENT until proven guilty! So many people are quick to join a “witch hunt” and forget all the good this man has done over the past 30 years. I am sure that when the facts are presented the truth will come out. Remember this man has family, friends, co-workers and students who care about him. Give him a chance to defend himself before you jump to conclusions.

  • C.J.

    Future bridge or casino parking deck jumper

  • tom

    honestly Jess Purcell is a horrible person to quote. I mean and it’s one of Jess’s friends who’s 16…didn’t she graduate in 2007 or like 2008? What are you doing hanging out with a 16 year old? idk this whole story seems sketchy. If you knew Jess Purcell and her group of friends for the most part this story seems way out of hand. But also on the other hand most of the time the person who commits these acts isn’t the creepy old guy in a trench coat walking down the street at night…it’s the guy that everyone knows and trusts in the Community and “would never ever do such a thing.” all I’m saying is we gotta wait for more details.

  • sarah

    If you know Jessica Purcell you would realize how ridiculous this is. I literally laughed out loud when I saw that name. She just wants attention and will say anything to be on TV.
    Mr. Rossi is one of the best principals I have ever seen. He really cares about his students and works hard for his district. He is a smart man and would not throw his life away over something stupid like this.

  • mike hawk

    why did they imterview that girl jess she does drugs

  • gossip hater

    The parents of Bobby Mack and Jessica Purcell need to teach their children this. I guess the news crew found these kids lurking around after school with nothing better to do than try and get on tv.SO SAD

  • Jeanine

    Wait until actual edvidence comes out then I will stand corrected or you will! I wrote what I know of a good man!

  • Stefanie

    This station got the town wrong, Jessica Purcell and the Mack kid are just looking for attention, the superintendent’s statement was more than “one line”, and what’s more disruptive to the start of a school week (on a Tuesday) than news crews outside of your high school interviewing people who know nothing and smirking about it? This is nonsense. Mr. Rossi is innocent until proven guilty. Stop spreading rumors and wait to see the evidence.

  • Max Power

    Hey, did you guys know nice people can be perverts? Amazing, right?

    Also, maybe some of you people need a better understanding of the word “bias”. Bias is exactly what you’re exhibiting here by claiming that there’s no way he could have done this because you know him as a nice guy.


  • Very Concerned

    Did McGreevy shock you? Like C.B. Kennedy said, perverts start somewhere. How many of you really know this man? I have neighbors that seem nice, I don’t know them. I worked with people and knew nothing of them outside of the office.
    I’m looking forward to reading the evidence.
    I wish this wasn’t happening in my town.

  • Jeanine

    I had Mr. Rossi as a teacher for 5 years in the 90’s in Hastings. He did so much good for that school! He is an upstanding person, respectful, geniune, and the nicest man you will ever meet. If you knew him you would know how out of left field this is! It’s makes absolutely no sense!

  • C B. Kennedy

    These upstanding citizens can be perverts ,yes they too
    have to start there perversion for perhaps the 1st time
    with someone,I
    If it is true he had a 16 year old in his car that
    is bad,many here blame the messenger, about this creepy Principal.
    Let’s see what happens in Court. Have compassion for the accuser
    as well ,he could be a victim.

    • pOm

      he;s innocent til proven guilty, moron

  • Concerned

    Texting a 16 year old boy? Really? The phone company should be able to provide records immediately to the police. The fact that the police arrested the man shows us something doesn’t pass the smell test. If the man is innocent he has been wronged. Although some of you say this boy seeks attention and is possibly not credible makes me belief this man might have thought he could bully and scare the child to be quiet. Has Rossi done this type of thing before but the victim was too ashamed or scared to come forward? If the man is a predator he is the worst kind, a person we trusted. If he did nothing wrong he must stand resolute, he is a man in a position that typically has a target on its back. I know when I was in High School there were many kids that hated our principal and would have relished the chance to sue the school or see the man fired. If the accused is guilty he should be made an example of, he was trusted to be an authority to many young minds and was preying on them.

    • Stephen

      shut your mouth, you don’t know anything

      • want to c the evidence Want

        Ha. You’re to dumb to have an open mind Stephen. The evidence will tell the story.

  • bill

    believe half of what you see, none of what is reported ….wait until details of the accusers’ background surface….that will shed light on the truth

  • Melissa

    ^^^ 100% agree with everyone above!! MR ROSSI IS NOT GUILTY UNLESS THERE IS PROOF.

  • J

    There is no way this is true. I knew Mr. Rossi when he was the vice-principal of Hastings High School in Westchester, NY. He was a great guy. I’m shocked.

  • Tom

    Jessica Purcell, that’s hilarious, she is a terrible source. Anyone who knows her must have laughed out loud when they read this. I graduated with her, she was just interviewed because she had nothing better to do and wanted attention.

  • Paul

    Having worked for Mr. Rossi a few years back, I have to say this is completely out of character. Beyond the realm of possible. My last year teaching there, Mr. Rossi continual stressed to all the staff to never put anything in an email that you would not say in a front of everyone you know and/or a court room. I find it hard to believe that he doesn’t apply that rule to text messaging. I highly doubt he would ever put himself in such a situation.

    It looks like a student made up a lie that went horribly wrong, from my perspective. If Mr. Rossi committed these acts than he must pay the price. But, if a student made these things up, he and his family better get ready for one heck of law suit. Either way, someone’s life/family is ruined over this.

  • http://www.militarysos.com/forum/general-support-chat/422397-principal-my-old-high-school-arrested.html#post7106309 The principal of my old High School was arrested. - General Support and Chat - MilitarySOS.com

    […] […]

  • Post1

    The whole thing about sex offenders just got out of hand lately. If you have any small argument with somebody and he wants to scare you he says that he’ll arrest you on sexual assault. And believe it or not, these people are found guilty in the end! This is crazy!

  • Kylie

    Mr. Rossi is an amazing person and a wonderful principal. I think people need to have actual proof to back up these allegations. The people you interviewed laughed over it and think it is a funny matter. Well most of Washingtonville stands behind Mr. Rossi. For all the people who turn your backs now on our wonderful principal and are writing disgusting facebook status’ you should be ashamed, have more respect for the man, his wife and kids. FREE ROSSI

  • Brandon

    You are dogs, you are sick and disgusting dogs, you go and get this BIAS information and believe children that graduated they will say anything to be on tv, Rossi is nothing but kind.

    Mentally? tell that poor child to get evaluated grudge holding dog.

  • Ashley

    This is ridiculous.. half the people saying Mr. Rossi is guilty don’t even know him or what they’re saying.

  • Sara

    You can’t always believe what you hear.. WHERE IS THE PROOF?!

    • unidentified

      Aol.comText messege but like purcell said hes nice and hes been my principal for four years nuthing but nice

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