A United States district judge has issued an ultimatum to former Westchester high school drama teacher and registered sex offender Christopher Schraufnagel, calling the former educator to “explain in writing why he (and the school district) have ignored court-imposed requests."
U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti has issued an ultimatum in a sexual-abuse civil lawsuit against the Chappaqua school district and former teacher Christopher Schraufnagel. The judge wants the school district and the admitted level 3 convicted sexual predator to explain in writing why they have ignored court-imposed requests, according to attorneys connected to the case.
“This is a pattern,” attorney David Engelsher, who represented the families of four former Greeley students in cases proceeding in state court. “By ignoring judges’ orders, the defendants in the Federal case are attempting to delay justice for the damaged children, just like they are in the State court cases that I am handling.”
"The reality is that there was an admonishment from Judge Briccetti this week directed to counsel for the defendants," attorney Julie Gaughran, of Asher, Gaughran LLP, who is representing a student in a federal civil rights case wrote in an email on Friday. "In addition, there has been, in our view, a pattern by defendants during the discovery process of failing to provide important information regarding earlier complaints about Mr. Schraufnagel to the school district."
Last year, Schraufnagel was assigned a Level 3 sex offender status, which means he is a “high risk of repeat offense, and a threat to public safety exists.” He recently reported a move into White Plains.
"My clients and I were relieved to learn that New Castle Town Court Judge Douglas M. Kraus assigned a Level 3 designation to Horace Greeley High School teacher and admitted sexual predator, Christopher Schraufnagel," Engelsher said last year when the designation was assigned. "A Level 3 designation means that the sex offender poses a high risk of a repeated offense and a threat to public safety. In addition, Level 3 sex offenders are required to be registered for life.”
Schraufnagel served as a drama teacher at Horace Greeley from 2003 until his resignation in 2015. He was accused of having sexual contact with three high school students over a four-year span and several others have come forward since.
Criminal allegations against Schraufnagel include acts of oral sex with a 15-year-old student and unspecified sexual contact and conversations with another. He was also accused of asking a student to kiss a group of classmates for a photo slideshow. Several other students came forward with civil lawsuits after the initial claims against the former educator.
The civil accusers have been represented by Engelsher, an attorney who also lives in the school district. In his filings, Engelsher outlined a series of sordid allegations against Schraufnagel, including fondling of students; and involving students in events such as "Sick Secret Santa." In the case of the events, Schraufnagel is accused of exposing the students to human feces placed in a cup, pubic hair baked into cake and sperm placed in a bottle.
Allegations against Schraufnagel came to light in June 2015 and he resigned the following September. Schraufnagel was levied with criminal sex-abuse charged in October that year.
In a statement last year, Schaufnagel apologized to his victims and the Chappaqua community during an appearance in New Castle Town Court, expressing his “continual” remorse for his victims. In his statement, he said, as an adult, he should have known better than to cross the line with students.
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