A New York school district is claiming it is “shocked and outraged” after the school’s principal allegedly “engaged in a bizarre and bizarre” sexual encounter with a dancer.
In a statement released Tuesday, the Manhattan School District said principal Michael Rielly was “in the middle of a performance” with a student, who was “a member of the school community.”
The school district said the student “was engaged in a highly sexualized dance routine” with Riell and the dancer at the time, a dance that “involved sexual advances, touching and other inappropriate touching.”
In an email to parents, the district said Riella “engages in a number of inappropriate conduct that has negatively impacted the students and the entire school community.
He is an abusive, predatory bully.”
The district said in the statement that it was “deeply troubled” by the allegations.
The district is “looking into these allegations” and is “aware that a school resource officer may have engaged in inappropriate conduct,” the statement said.
“We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our schools and will take appropriate action to protect our students and staff.”
School district officials also released a statement Tuesday morning saying they are “shaking our collective heads in disbelief and regret” that the principal has engaged in such behavior.
“It is deeply disappointing that a teacher would engage in inappropriate sexual conduct with a member of our community,” the school district stated.
“This is a serious matter that is completely unacceptable and we have taken the appropriate steps to investigate.
The actions taken by Mr. Riello have not been isolated incidents.
We are committed to protecting all students, staff and students.
Our district takes all allegations of sexual harassment very seriously.”
The statement came after a school official allegedly engaged in “a bizarre and strange” sexual relationship with a teenage dancer at a New Jersey public school, The Associated Press reported.
The official, identified only as David, was a member or staff member at the school, and “the relationship began during a dance class” that was part of a “special program,” according to a statement issued by the district.
David was also a “participant in a performance of a dance routine with the student.”
The New Jersey school district “is deeply troubled by the actions of the principal, and the actions that led to his inappropriate sexual interaction with the dancer,” according the statement.
The principal has been placed on administrative leave, the statement added.
The alleged incident occurred at the Manhattan-based Woodside Public School in Woodside, New Jersey, in April.
“The principal was in the middle to a dance performance when he engaged in sexually explicit behavior with a teen dancer,” the district’s statement said, adding that it is now investigating the matter “with the assistance of the FBI.”
“The school is committed to fostering a safe and welcoming environment for all students and to supporting the district as it deals with the aftermath of this horrific incident.”
The superintendent, Mary Anne Bowerman, released a brief statement Tuesday saying that “there are multiple allegations” in the case.
“I’m deeply disturbed by the accusations made against me, and have requested that the FBI assist me in their investigation.
My thoughts and prayers are with the students, the school and the district,” she said.
The New York Times, which first reported the alleged sexual encounter in April, reported that the dancer was a “student from Woodside High School.”
“He had been invited to join a dance group in the classroom for a dance recital, but he turned it down and asked his parents if they would take him instead,” the newspaper reported.
“At the time he was a student at Woodside,” the Times reported, adding, “The teacher was an active member of Woodside’s community and was involved in a variety of extracurricular activities.”
The Times reported that Riehl “engagement in sexual conduct” is not the first time the school has faced allegations.
In February 2018, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he was investigating allegations of inappropriate behavior by principals in public schools.
In December 2018, a former principal in Brooklyn was sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing a student.
The Associated Business reported in December that Richelly, the principal at Woodsyst, had previously been fired for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student at the Brooklyn Public School.
“If the allegations are true, the conduct by the principal was deeply inappropriate and a violation of the law,” New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said at the end of a three-year investigation into Richella’s behavior.
Cuomo’s office said in a statement that the district is working with the attorney general’s office to determine “what happened in this case.”
“We are shocked and outraged that anyone would engage or condone such behavior and are working with law enforcement to determine exactly what happened,” Cuomo’s statement continued.
“Our office will conduct its own investigation into the allegations