Hopewell teacher charged

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A Hopewell High School teacher has been charged with felony sexual abuse after the state attorney general's office said he sexted a student and asked her to send him nude pictures beginning in her sophomore year then inappropriately touched her in the classroom a year later.

Joseph A. Rubino, 37, of Aliquippa has been charged with three counts of sexual abuse of children, two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal solicitation, institutional sexual assault and other related charges.

According to a criminal complaint, Mr. Rubino began texting the student when she was a sophomore. At first friendly, the messages became sexual, according to the complaint.

Mr. Rubino told police the sexual conversations were mutual. They continued through early fall of her senior year, according to the complaint.

The girl, now 18, also said Mr. Rubino would touch her breasts or buttocks in the classroom with his hands or with a yardstick, which the teacher admitted to police that he did, according to the complaint.

Mr. Rubino also rewarded the student with hall passes to get out class and "high-end" school baseball uniform shirts, according to the complaint. The girl also said Mr. Rubino invited her to his home on several occasions and once offered her Grey Goose vodka, according to the complaint.

In an unsigned statement, Hopewell Area School District officials said Mr. Rubino is on unpaid leave. Mr. Rubino's attorney, Steven Valsamidis, said his client is denying all criminal allegations. He was released on unsecured bond and faces a preliminary hearing next Thursday.

education - neigh_washington

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944.


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