Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Teacher pleads guilty

http://www.registercitizen.com/articles/2010/12/01/news/doc4cf5e6dde6f7d219485753.txt
Former CCD teacher pleads guilty to sex assault of teen
Published: Wednesday, December 01, 2010

0diggsdigg ShareThis0By CHRIS RUELI
LITCHFIELD — A former religious education teacher who befriended one of his students and then allegedly molested him appeared in Litchfield Superior Court on Tuesday.

For nearly a year, former religion teacher David G. Stanco allegedly molested a 15-year-old at his Thomaston home, touching the boy while in a hot tub and performing oral sex on him in the suspect’s bedroom, according to an arrest warrant.

In court, Stanco pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault as well as risk of injury to a minor. He entered this plea because he is, in fact, guilty, the defendant revealed as Judge James P. Ginocchio canvassed him.

Stanco faces a possible prison sentence of 12 years followed by 35 years probation.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Terri Sonnemann spoke to the complainant’s mother, who was present in court Tuesday. Sonnemann mentioned the sentencing offer that Stanco has been presented with to her, but she said, “No length of time would be satisfactory.”

The juvenile filed a complaint with the Thomaston police on March 28, which led to the arrest of the 57-year-old teacher of Confraternity Christian Doctrine (CCD). According to the warrant, the boy looked up to Stanco as someone who was “close to God,” trusting him because “he was a CCD teacher.”

According to his arrest warrant, Stanco was an organist at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston and previously at the United Methodist Church in Watertown.

He began teaching CCD in Thomaston in 2008. In October of that year he met the 15-year-old complainant, according to the warrant.

The warrant details a friendly relationship at first, with the youth also doing odd jobs around Stanco’s home such as shoveling snow and landscaping.

That situation changed in early 2009 when Stanco allegedly began inviting the complainant to join him in Stanco’s hot tub at his apartment. Stanco asked the boy to wear a pair of basketball shorts, and no underwear, police said. Continued...

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As soon as allegations surfaced and once police started investigating, the Archdiocese of Hartford put Stanco on administrative leave from his duties as St. Thomas’ part-time organist, said Rev. John Gatzak, diocese spokesman. Stanco had only served as a volunteer CCD teacher for one year, from September 2008 to May 2009, and was not invited back after that, Gatzak said.

“The sister who was in charge of religious education for the parish did not like his teaching style,” he said.

This is the first instance of sexual abuse allegations against Stanco, Gatzak said. He, like other candidates for CCD teaching, was vetted and underwent a background check, which showed no prior criminal record, Gatzak noted. Stanco was the part-time organist since October 2003, he said.

Attorney Christopher Cosgrove from the public defender’s office represents Stanco.

Stanco had his case continued until Feb. 10 for sentencing at which time the victim will be heard and the state’s attorney will argue that Stanco deserves the maximum sentence.

Judge James P. Ginocchio informed Stanco that he will have to submit a DNA sample, as he is now a convicted felon, and that he will have to register as a sex offender.

Chris Rueli can be reached by e-mail at crueli@registercitizen.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/registercitizen
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By CHRIS RUELI

LITCHFIELD — A former religious education teacher who befriended one of his students and then allegedly molested him appeared in Litchfield Superior Court on Tuesday.

For nearly a year, former religion teacher David G. Stanco allegedly molested a 15-year-old at his Thomaston home, touching the boy while in a hot tub and performing oral sex on him in the suspect’s bedroom, according to an arrest warrant.

In court, Stanco pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault as well as risk of injury to a minor. He entered this plea because he is, in fact, guilty, the defendant revealed as Judge James P. Ginocchio canvassed him.

Stanco faces a possible prison sentence of 12 years followed by 35 years probation.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Terri Sonnemann spoke to the complainant’s mother, who was present in court Tuesday. Sonnemann mentioned the sentencing offer that Stanco has been presented with to her, but she said, “No length of time would be satisfactory.”

The juvenile filed a complaint with the Thomaston police on March 28, which led to the arrest of the 57-year-old teacher of Confraternity Christian Doctrine (CCD). According to the warrant, the boy looked up to Stanco as someone who was “close to God,” trusting him because “he was a CCD teacher.”

According to his arrest warrant, Stanco was an organist at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston and previously at the United Methodist Church in Watertown.

He began teaching CCD in Thomaston in 2008. In October of that year he met the 15-year-old complainant, according to the warrant.

The warrant details a friendly relationship at first, with the youth also doing odd jobs around Stanco’s home such as shoveling snow and landscaping.

That situation changed in early 2009 when Stanco allegedly began inviting the complainant to join him in Stanco’s hot tub at his apartment. Stanco asked the boy to wear a pair of basketball shorts, and no underwear, police said.

As soon as allegations surfaced and once police started investigating, the Archdiocese of Hartford put Stanco on administrative leave from his duties as St. Thomas’ part-time organist, said Rev. John Gatzak, diocese spokesman. Stanco had only served as a volunteer CCD teacher for one year, from September 2008 to May 2009, and was not invited back after that, Gatzak said.

“The sister who was in charge of religious education for the parish did not like his teaching style,” he said.

This is the first instance of sexual abuse allegations against Stanco, Gatzak said. He, like other candidates for CCD teaching, was vetted and underwent a background check, which showed no prior criminal record, Gatzak noted. Stanco was the part-time organist since October 2003, he said.

Attorney Christopher Cosgrove from the public defender’s office represents Stanco.

Stanco had his case continued until Feb. 10 for sentencing at which time the victim will be heard and the state’s attorney will argue that Stanco deserves the maximum sentence.

Judge James P. Ginocchio informed Stanco that he will have to submit a DNA sample, as he is now a convicted felon, and that he will have to register as a sex offender.

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