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Sex-Abuse Suit Cites Sordid Claims Against Ex-Westchester HS Drama Teacher

Christopher Schraufnagel
Christopher Schraufnagel Photo Credit: Westchester County DA

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- A lawsuit filed against the Chappaqua school district and former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel alleges a series of sordid claims of sex-abuse and graphic conduct.

The suit, which was filed on Wednesday, May 18 in state supreme court in White Plains, accuses Schraufnagel of groping the genitals and buttocks of one student, groping the buttocks and carassing the body of a second, and bullying and making sexually explicit remarks about a third.

The former teacher is also accused of providing drugs and alcohol to students, sending sexually explicit electronic messages to students and having students participate in "games" such as "Train Wreck" and "Sick Secret Santa."

Schraufnagel's games, which involved each of the plaintiffs, are alleged to have included placing human feces in coffee cups, baking pubic hairs into cakes and photoshopping images of students so they are depicted in inappropriate fashions.

Because the allegations involve underage abuse, the plaintiffs are referred to by the initials "C.V.," "J.G." and "M.R." The parents of C.V. and J.G., who are also granted anonymity, are listed as co-plaintiffs. 

The time frame of the lawsuit begins in January 2011 and runs through June 2015, which is when Schraufnagel took an abrupt leave of absence.

Schraufnagel resigned from his position last September was charged the following month with multiple criminal counts of sexual abuse.

Schraufnagel's criminal case is still pending and he is due back in New Castle Justice Court on June 9, according to the court office.

Notices of claim, or documents declaring the intentions to sue, were filed on behalf of the plaintiffs last fall. The notices are required under state law in order to sue governmental entities, including school districts.

The suit accuses the school district of neglience and in allowing for an "unsafe learning environment." 

The district is also accused of failing to properly vet Schraufnagel before his hiring; he joined the district in 2003, according to records. Schraufnagel, the suit states, had a “known relevant criminal history."

The district is also accused of failing to report Schraufnagel to the "appropriate authorities," failing to take timely action to have him termination from his employment, and in failing to have a proper grievance process for students. Additionally, the district is accused of not having a proper code of conduct and not having surveillance equipment in parts of the school.

The lawsuit seeks judgements of unspecified amounts.

Chappaqua school board president Warren Messner declined to comment on the lawsuit.

"The Chappaqua Central School District does not comment on legal matters."

A copy of the suit can be viewed here.

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