NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx school teacher accused of raping one of his young students was indicted Monday.
Anthony Criscuolo, 40, was 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.
Criscuolo is facing a maximum sentence of up to 25 years to life imprisonment if convicted of the most serious crime, predatory sexual assault against a child.
Criscuolo waived a Monday court appearance and refused to testify in front of a grand jury.
The alleged victim is one of Criscuolo’s fifth grade students at P.S. 386 in Fordham Heights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, the alleged abuse of the 10-year-old girl had been going on for at least two months.
The family of the 10-year-old girl is demanding justice.
‘They destroyed the life of that little girl who was just starting to grow and develop, and become a little girl, not even a teenager, so it’s very hard fro them,” the girl’s cousin Lourdes Murphy said.
St. Sen. Ruben Diaz and other officials stood with Maria Reyes, the alleged victim’s grandmother, at a rally outside Bronx Criminal Court where 40-year-old Anthony Criscuolo was scheduled to appear Monday.
His attorney said Criscuolo waived his appearance in court on Monday because he didn’t want to face the media or the girl’s family, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
“I don’t sleep, I cannot eat because that beast took my life, he broke my heart,” Reyes said through a translator. “I need the full extent of the weight of the law to be put in this case because I don’t want this to keep happening to other children.”
Criscuolo was arrested last Wednesday on charges of first-degree rape, predatory sexual assault against a child, attempted rape and endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The first incident happened sometime in April when he sexually assaulted the girl at the school, the criminal complaint said. He did it again sometime in May, allegedly telling the girl, “I’m doing this because I like you,” authorities said.
The most recent attack happened last Monday when investigators said he wrote a letter on what appeared to be school letterhead, informing the girl and her parents that she had been chosen to receive a special award, Brown reported.
Criscuolo offered to take the girl to the ceremony, but instead police said he parked in the school lot and raped her in his car, Brown reported.
The girl’s mother called police after discovering explicit emails he allegedly sent to the girl, authorities said.
“The email that he sent the little girl, ‘I’m sorry I was rough, the pain will go away,’ How repugnant can he be?” Diaz said.
Assemblyman Marcus Crespo said it’s critical “that we shield this young girl, that we protect her, that we council her, that we console her and the families.”
Criscuolo started teaching in the city in 2002 at P.S. 178. In 2010, he transferred to P.S. 498 in the Bronx. A year later, he went to P.S. 386, where he has taught fifth grade special education.
“I am calling for justice and for a thorough investigation of any other complaints filed against Anthony Criscuolo to be sure that no other children who trusted him as their teacher has also been harmed,” Diaz said in a statement.
Reyes is calling for greater school security and cameras in the classroom.
“I need cameras in the schools, more police officers, more school safety officers to be vigilant in the schools,” Reyes said.
The Department of Education said Criscuolo has been reassigned to a non-teaching position and is banned from the school. The department is also seeking his termination.
Criscuolo is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on Friday, July 26 in State Supreme Court.
He is being held in lieu of $750,000 bond or $500,000 cash.
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