CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- Katonah-Lewisboro Superintendent Andrew Selesnick continues to have the support of the school board in the wake of a lawsuit filed against him and former colleagues pertaining to sex-abuse allegations in his old school district.
"We have been advised that the inclusion of supervisory administrators in a case like this often occurs," school board President Marjorie Schiff wrote in a Wednesday email addressed to the community. "We wish to reassure the KLSD community that the Board of Education fully supports Mr. Selesnick."
Selesnick, who worked in the Chappaqua Central School District before assuming his current post in 2015, was principal at Horace Greeley High School from 2003 to 2012 and served as the district's assistant superintendent for human resources from 2012 to 2015.
The federal lawsuit, which was filed this week by a former Greeley student, pertains to sex-abuse allegations involving former longtime drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel, who worked at the school from 2003 until his abrupt resignation last year amid a criminal probe.
The plaintiff, who goes by the pseudonym of "John Roe," alleges that Schraufnagel "directed" him to perform oral sex in the spring of 2011 on the catwalk of Greeley's auditorium. He also alleges that Schraufnagel performed oral sex on another student during a 2012 trip to Greece and then got him to do so on the same individual.
In total, there are seven civil accusers who have active litigation, or are seeking to sue, the Chappaqua school district. However, the federal case is the first that names current and former top officials, including Selesnick, in addition to the school district as a collective entity.
Schraufnagel was also charged last October with criminal counts involving sex abuse. He accepted a plea deal in early August, whereby he admitted to having sexual contact with two students and would plead guilty to three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. While Schraufnagel would receive three years of probation and be subject to monitoring similar to that of a sex offender, the deal does not require him to formally register as one.
The deal has to be accepted by New Castle Town Justice Douglas Kraus.
Selesnick declined to weigh in on the case.
"I have no comment on pending litigation," Selesnick wrote in a Wednesday email, which was in reply to a Tuesday message left by Daily Voice for an earlier story about the suit.
Previous coverage on the latest lawsuit can be found here.
Below is a copy of Schiff's email, with italics added for visual clarity:
Dear KLSD Community,
The Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education recognizes the serious nature of the ongoing matters in the Chappaqua Central School District.
As you may be aware, our Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Andrew Selesnick, along with six current or former Chappaqua administrators, has been included in a recently filed lawsuit against the Chappaqua Central School District based on his previous employment in Chappaqua. We have been advised that the inclusion of supervisory administrators in a case like this often occurs. We wish to reassure the KLSD community that the Board of Education fully supports Mr. Selesnick.
We have taken this opportunity both to acknowledge recent events and to express our continued support of Mr. Selesnick’s leadership of our schools and service to the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.
Marjorie Schiff, Board President, on behalf of the Board of Education