Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teacher accused
Cathedral teacher accused of attacking student in empty classroom
Cathedral Catholic...JGrazianoCathedral Catholic Secondary teacher Giuseppe Graziano faces sex assault charges arising from an attack on a student in an emplty school classroom
A Hamilton Catholic high school teacher has been charged with sexually assaulting a student.
Police allege Giuseppe (Joe) Graziano, who has been teaching cosmetology and Spanish at Cathedral High School for the past 14 years, approached a student at school in January and asked for sex.

Police and school officials would not reveal the student's gender, age or grade.

In February, according to the Hamilton police child abuse branch, Graziano sexually assaulted the student in an empty classroom.

Five hours after Graziano's arrest Tuesday morning, Hamilton Wentworth District Catholic School Board officials held a news conference at the central Hamilton high school.

"A student confided in a staff member on Feb. 9, " who brought the information to the principal's attention the next day, said HWCSB chairperson Pat Daly. Police were then contacted and Graziano was sent home immediately and placed on administrative leave. School officials also notified the Ontario College of Teachers.

Graziano was arrested and charged Tuesday around 10:30 a.m. after a joint investigation by police and the Catholic Children's Aid Society.

"This matter … is of deep concern to us and deeply saddens all of us beyond Cathedral and indeed our entire system, " Daly said. "Saying that, however, we respect due process and understand this is now a legal matter.

"Our first priority of concern is for the alleged victim and our prayers and support go out to that student."

While Cathedral students were praying unawares in a hastily called school assembly, school principal Sara Cannon broke the news of Graziano's arrest to his colleagues in a separate meeting.

"This is clearly deeply distressing … You can appreciate that this was shocking news to (staff). The wind has been knocked out of everyone, for sure, " Daly said.

At the end of the day, students were informed of the arrest by their teachers and given a letter to take home to their parents and caregivers.

"They were very shocked, " Cannon said.

"It took some time to absorb. Many of them were very quiet and many were in a pensive, reflective mood."

The school board brought crisis counsellors into the school for staff and students and will keep them at Cathedral as needed, Daly said.

Graziano, 51, of Stoney Creek, has been charged with two counts of invitation to sexual touching, sexual assault, and sexual interference.

Child abuse investigators believe there could be other victims. Anyone with further information is asked to call Detective Brandi Frazier at 905-546-3855.

"If a child came home with any concerns regarding this issue in any way, (parents) should contact Mrs. Cannon and/or police, " Daly said.

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