Pittsburgh Public Schools placed the principal of its Brookline K-8 campus on paid administrative leave, the district said Wednesday, after he was accused of asking a 17-year-old boy to allow him to perform oral sex.
Alfonzo DeIuliis, 37, was arraigned Tuesday on two counts each of unlawful contact with a minor and indecent exposure, as well as a count each of corruption of minors, indecent assault, open lewdness and harassment, according to court records.
A 17-year-old boy told police Mr. DeIuliis exposed himself and started masturbating in the sauna at the North Hills LA Fitness in McCandless on Aug. 12. Mr. DeIuliis also touched the boy's leg and asked if he could perform oral sex on the 17-year-old, according to a township police criminal complaint. The boy went home and told his mother what happened. She reported the incident to the gym, which was unable to identify the man, police wrote in the complaint.
Then on Monday, the boy saw Mr. DeIuliis in the sauna again and notified management.
"This is a gentleman who has lived his life to help and assist youngsters -- the last thing he would do is attempt to hurt one of them," his attorney, Phil DiLucente, said. "He is greatly anticipating his preliminary hearing so that the truth will make itself avail."
Mr. DeIuliis told police he didn't know or recognize the 17-year-old.
In a press release, district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said Mr. DeIuliis was "sent home" at 11 a.m. Tuesday after district officials learned of a warrant for his arrest. The boy was not a student in the district, according to the release.
A McCandless police officer took a similar report earlier this year, police wrote in the complaint. In the February encounter, a man told police that a man, whose vehicle police later traced to Mr. DeIuliis, masturbated in the sauna at LA Fitness and asked him to join.
One of the counts of indecent exposure applies to that incident, McCandless police Chief Gary Anderson said. Police kept the report from February, but the man didn't want to proceed and testify against Mr. DeIuliis until police contacted him to inform him of the latest accusations.
Mr. DiLucente added: "As far as any masturbating occurring whatsoever is completely and utterly ridiculous."
Mr. DeIuliis was appointed principal of Pittsburgh Brookline in July and started as a district teacher at Pittsburgh Roosevelt PreK-5 in October 2001.
Starting July 1, 2010, he was in a principal training program in Brookline, and another at Pittsburgh Allegheny K-5 a year later. In August 2011, he moved to Pittsburgh King PreK-8 where he was a clinical resident instructor, which is a teacher position with additional responsibilities. He was named to the position through a competitive process.
Ms. Pugh said Mr. DeIuliis passed the criminal history and child abuse background checks when he was hired, and his child abuse clearances were updated in 2009 and again in April.
A letter from superintendent Linda Lane was scheduled to be sent to families Wednesday. Assistant principal Matthew May will serve as interim principal until a new principal is named, the press release says.
An officer from the Brookline parent-teacher organization said Wednesday that the group would not comment on the situation.
Mr. DeIuliis was released from the Allegheny County Jail on Wednesday after a family member posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, and he is "not to have any contact with the alleged victims," Mr. DiLucente said. He had passed a behavioral clinic "to make sure he's not a danger to himself or others," a standard procedure when charges involve accusations of a sex-related assault, Mr. DiLucente said.
No one answered the door at Mr. DeIuliis' Hampton home Wednesday afternoon.
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede. First Published August 28, 2013 12:30 AM