A high school teacher at one New York’s elite public high schools was arraigned in State in Brooklyn on 36 charges involving six teenage girls, including sexual abuse, forcible touching, kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and disseminating indecent material. The teacher pled not guilty to all charges, but faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. According to the New York Times:
The investigation began with one explicit picture, sent by a teacher at one of New York’s elite public high schools to one of his female students through a messaging app.
That soon led the police to search the teacher’s phones and computers, where, law enforcement officials said, they unearthed a much larger trove: thousands of text messages to students, many of them inappropriate, and a video of the teacher, Sean Shaynak, having sex with a teenager.
Through interviews and the material on those devices, a portrait emerged of a teacher who befriended certain students when they were sophomores and juniors, offering them cigarettes and alcohol. Prosecutors said he sent them indecent photographs of himself, invited them to his apartment, took one to a nude beach and took another to a sex club. He had forcible sex with one of them when she was 18, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said.
The photograph that first brought Mr. Shaynak to the attention of law enforcement officials was sent to a 16-year-old student at the end of June, officials said. Mr. Shaynak, they said, sent it using Snapchat, which sends messages that disappear after a few seconds, but the student captured it by taking a photograph of the message with her cellphone. She told an adult, who alerted the authorities. That led to Mr. Shaynak’s arrest in August on charges including disseminating indecent material to a minor.
After that arrest, investigators seized three computers and two phones, and used text messages — which they said included inappropriate conversations about nude beaches and threesomes — as well as videos and photographs to identify six additional victims, ranging in age from 13 to 19.
While law enforcement officials recited the details of the new charges in court, Mr. Shaynak stood silently. His lawyer, Kimberly Summers, told the judge that her client denied any wrongdoing and that he had no previous criminal history. Mr. Shaynak had worked on special projects with certain students, she said, adding that one of those students “was routinely contacting him.”
Justice Murphy set bail for Mr. Shaynak at $1 million bond or $600,000 cash, which he had not posted Tuesday afternoon.
A Maryland court issued a six-month restraining order against Mr. Shaynak in 2005, but attempts to contact the woman who requested the order were unsuccessful on Tuesday, and details of why she had it were not immediately available.