CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was a courtroom confession Tuesday from a former Westchester County teacher who sexually abused students.
His accusers now worry he’s getting off with a slap on the wrist. As CBS2’s Lou Young reports, the defendant was even commended by the judge.
In a light blue summer suit and more conservative hairdo, the former drama teacher seemed like he’s trying to tone down his act. Gone are the blonde highlights Christopher Schraufnagel sported while teaching at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua.
Schraufnagel formally admitted Tuesday he sexually abused students in his charge.
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” he told the judge. “I was trusted with tomorrow and hurt part of that tomorrow.”
It’s a deal that allows him to get counseling while on probation — the charge is endangering the welfare of a child.
“Despite his remorse and despite his sentence, my children, the children of the families I represent are still hurting,” victims’ attorney David Englesher said Tuesday.
Schraufnagel has admitted to student sexual contact with students over a three year period ending in 2014. He’s criminally charged with three cases, but is being sued by four other former students as well.
He told the judge he no longer drinks and is attending counseling for his sexual impulses at a facility in New Jersey. The judge, Douglas Krause, commended him for seeking the required treatment before being formally sentenced.
“When I see a judge complimenting a predator for the terms of fulfilling a very light sentence for a plea deal, it bothers me, it bothers me,” parent Gary Murphy said.
Schraufnagel’s attorney insists her client’s remorse is real despite his silence and quick exit from the courtroom.
“He made a comment for the entire community,” defense attorney Stacy Richman said before slamming a door in reporters’ faces.
The deal will be finalized on May 30th. The civil case is still pending.
CBS2 reports the school’s handling of the case is an issue in upcoming school board elections.
Schraufnagel is currently living with his parents in New Jersey as he undergoes extensive counseling and psychotherapy.
He’s expected to be placed on a sex offenders registry as part of his sentence.