CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Was Christopher Schraufnagel just a “big kid,” as one former student called him, whose artistic ambitions led him to push boundaries on the stage and off, or was the former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher something more sinister?
That’s the tangled web New York magazine attempts to unravel in a newly published stor y on “The Cut,” a website that touts itself as a source for news about fashion, beauty, politics and sex.
Schraufnagel, who was openly gay and liked to come to school wearing flannel shirts and sneakers, was the artsy crowd’s favorite teacher at Greeley and his office was both a safe place for kids to be “weird” and an oasis in the school’s high-pressure academic and social environs, New York magazine reported.
But complainants in a civil suit against say the 42-year-old “Schrauf,” as he liked to be called, took the comradery too far, leading students into sexually explicit conversations and other inappropriate behavior, the New York magazine article said.
The civil suit was filed against Schraufnagel and the school district by several students who alleged that Schraufnagel had engaged in sexual acts with students and had given them drugs and alcohol, as previously reported by Daily Voice.
Suzy Khimm, author of the New York article, said a representative of Schaufnagel told her that he did not make sexually suggestive comments to students or give them access to drugs and alcohol.
The scandal, which sparked a war of words on Facebook, has split the community by forcing both school officials and parents into defense mode, multiple media reports said.
Meanwhile, the ex-teacher, who is said to be suffering from cancer (as previously reported by Daily Voice), also faced criminal charges of third-degree criminal sexual act, a felony, and several misdemeanors, ranging from sex abuse to endangering the welfare of a child.
In August, Shraufnagel agreed to a plea deal, admitting to three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, as reported by Daily Voice.
One of the conditions of the deal was that he give up his teaching license, but since he was not pleading guilty to a sex crime, he does not have to register as a sex offender and won’t spend any time behind bars, as previously reported.
The deal depends on the approval of New Castle Town Justice Douglas Kraus.
According to New Castle court clerk Diane DiCerbo, Kraus wrote to Westchester County prosecutors and Schrafnagel’s attorney asking for more information on how the plea deal was put together and questioning the bit about Schraufnagel not having to register as a sex offender.
Kraus, who asked for a response by this Friday (Sept. 16) is expected to render his decision on Thursday, Oct. 6, and Schraufnagel is likely to be sentenced on Thursday, Nov. 10, DiCerbo said.