CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- While Christopher Schraufnagel's acceptance of a plea deal in his criminal sex-abuse case was the main story on Thursday night, the severe decline in the status of his health marked another major development.
Stacey Richman, who is the former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher's lawyer, disclosed during her client's New Castle town court appearance that he has "significant advanced cancer," and that he has already undergone two surgeries.
Richman previously alluded to Schraufnagel, who taught at Greeley from 2005 to 2013, having a health problem, which was unspecified. She did not disclose which type of cancer that her client is battling.
Richman raised the subject of Schraufnagel's health in general terms at the Thursday visit to New Castle Justice Court. Briefly, RIchman leaned in to speak with Town Justice Douglas Kraus, while the judge pushed away his microphone to ensure privacy during the candid talk.
Moments later, Richman gave a description of her client's health.
Schaufnagel is set to have another surgery, Richman added.
"His health continues to deteriorate," she told Kraus.
Schraufnagel pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor-level counts of endangering the welfare of a child. In doing so, he admitted to having sexual contact with two Greeley students while having non-sexual, but emotionally injurious contact with a third.
Kraus gave his tentative approval to the plea deal, which is pending his subsequent review and a final acceptance that could come later this month.
As part of the deal, Schraufnagel faces three years of "sex-offender probation," which involves monitoring from the state's Department of Probation similar to that of a convicted sex offender.
Schraufnagel will not have to formally register as a sex offender, although the deal calls for restrictions on where he can live and work. He also agreed, under the deal, to surrender his state teaching license.
The former drama teacher is due to return to New Castle court for sentencing on Nov. 10. Previous coverage of Schraufnagel's legal situation can be read here.