WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - A federal judge has refused to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by a former Chappaqua Central School District student who claimed the school district failed him while he was being sexually abused by former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel.
The federal judge determined that the student who filed the civil suit - one of several pending against Schraufnagel - will be permitted to move forward.
In Judge Vincent Briccetti’s ruling denying the school district's motion to dismiss the civil suit, he wrote “plaintiff further claims notices of Schraufnagel’s inappropriate conduct with students should have prompted a thorough investigation into Schraufnagel’s misconduct. The amended complaint alleges all of the CCSD defendants were on notice of allegations in 2011 that Schraufnagel had abused a student, and that there were numerous other warnings of inappropriate conduct by Schraufnagel that should have prompted an investigation.
“Plaintiff alleges Schraufnagel was essentially unsupervised in his role as a theater teacher at HGHS. Schraufnagel had unrestricted access to his students during class, in his office, during weekend-long rehearsals, and during trips to New York City and beyond that were unchaperoned by any adults other than Schraufnagel and his husband.”
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 included 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.
In May, Schraufnagel was sentenced to three years of probation and was forced to surrender his New York state teaching license. He has since made a public apology to his victims.
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.
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