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Ex-Greeley Teacher In Sex-Abuse Case Makes Plea Deal

Christopher Schraufnagel, pictured at a previous New Castle Justice Court date.
Christopher Schraufnagel, pictured at a previous New Castle Justice Court date. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel, who is at the center of criminal and civil sex-abuse cases involving former students , accepted a plea deal on Thursday night at an appearance in New Castle Justice Court.

Under the terms of the deal, which was agreed to with the Westchester County District Attorney's office, Schraufnagel agreed to end the criminal case by pleading guilty to three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The prosecution, in exchange, dropped a felony level count of sexual abuse.

Schraufnagel also admitted to having sexual contact with two Greeley students while having non-sexual, emotionally injurious contact with a third.

Due to the deal, Schraufnagel will forgo a criminal trial and will surrender his state teaching license.

Schraufnagel and the prosecution also agreed that he will serve three years of "sex-offender probation," which will include compliance terms similar to that of a registered sex offender.

Schraufnagel will not be subject to formal sex-offender registration, according to Assistant District Attorney Mary Clark-DiRusso, although she added that there will be restrictions on where he can live and work.

Clark-DiRusso, noting the structure of the probation, said there were "some 30-odd conditions." She also described Schraufnagel's conduct as "a terrible violation of trust" as a teacher.

The plea deal was tentatively accepted by New Castle Town Justice Douglas Kraus, who noted that it will be subject to his further review. Kraus gave himself a deadline for later this month to decide whether or not he would give his final approval or to reject the agreement.

Schraufnagel is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on Nov. 10.

In making the case for the plea deal, Clark-DiRusso told Kraus that the victims and their parents, who her office interviewed, were in support of it

Clark-DiRusso, who said she was "humbled by the courage of these children," noted that their objective was to prevent Schraufnagel from engaging in further abuse.

Schraufnagel, who worked at Greeley from 2003 to 2015, is also facing civil cases from five former students, who are also suing the Chappaqua Central School District. Three of the students are engaged in lawsuits. Two other students are seeking to file lawsuits but are currently going through preliminary procedures.

One of the civil accusers is also a criminal accuser.

Previous coverage of Schraufnagel's criminal and civil cases can be read here.

Meanwhile, Schraufnagel's guilty plea comes as he is facing what his attorney, Stacey Richman, called a "significant advanced cancer."

Schraufnagel has undergone two surgeries and is set for another, Richman told Kraus.

"His health continues to deteriorate," she said.

Richman alluded to a health problem of her client's in a court date last month, although she did not specify what it was.

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