WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel apologized to his victims and the Chappaqua community during an appearance Tuesday in New Castle Town Court.
At the hearing, Schraufnagel expressed his "continual" remorse for his victims, while reading from a prepared statement. His sentence - three years probation, and he must register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to charges that he sexually abused students - has been officially postponed until May 30 as he completes treatment.
Schraufnagel is wrapping up intensive substance abuse and sexual abuse therapy in New Jersey, and once officially sentenced, would be required to stay in New York.
In a statement in court, Schraufnagel said as an adult, he should have known better than to cross that line with students.
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 David 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.
“Today’s events, while somewhat gratifying, do not make the hurt this man caused to many innocent children and their families go away," said David Engelsher, an attorney from the Law Office of William A. Gallina, which represented four Horace Greeley High School families in the case. "While the criminal matter may be over, the pain will last forever.”