Michael Cognato, 35, who worked at Intermediate School 93 in Queens, allegedly began sending the girl naked pictures of himself over the summer, the News reported.
The girl had been an eighth-grade student in Cognato’s class. Following her graduation, Cognato tutored her and communicated with her via Skype and Facebook messaging, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
During the summer, prosecutors allege, Cognato began sending indecent pictures and videos of himself to the girl and convinced her to send nude photos of herself.
Cognato, of Bethpage, New York, was charged with using a child in a sexual performance, promoting a sexual performance by a child, and acting in a manner injurious to a child after the teen’s mother contacted the police, the News reported.
Education Department officials said Cognato began working as a teacher at IS 93 in 2001, and has no disciplinary history.
Education Department spokesman Michael Aciman said that the alleged actions “are deeply disturbing and have absolutely no place in our schools.”
According to Brown, Cognato sent the girl at least 15 videos of himself masturbating between August and October, and that she sent a similar number of videos of herself to the teacher, the News reported.
“This case should serve as a clear and unmistakable warning that law enforcement is prepared to apprehend and prosecute sexual predators,” Brown said.