Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teacher accused

Former CCD teacher accused of molesting 15-year-old student
Published: Wednesday, September 08, 2010

0diggsdigg ShareThis0By MIKE AGOGLIATI

LITCHFIELD — A former religious education teacher who befriended one of his students and then allegedly molested him repeatedly is set to appear in Litchfield Superior Court on Wednesday.

For nearly a year, former religion teacher David G. Stanco allegedly molested the 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 unsealed Tuesday.

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 at 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 defendant gave everyone in the class his e-mail address, telling the students if they “needed help he could be there for them, not as a teacher but as a friend,” the complainant told police.

“I took this as an invitation to talk to someone close to God,” the 15-year-old told police. “Because he taught CCD and I needed to talk to someone because my parents were not getting along.”

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

That situation, however, changed in early 2009 when Stanco allegedly began inviting the complainant to join him in Stanco’s hot tub at his apartment.

The complainant said he felt “safe” because “he was my CCD teacher,” the warrant states.

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 said. Stanco was the part-time organist since October 2003, he said.

Stanco is being represented by attorney Christopher Cosgrove from the public defender’s office.

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