Matthew Filippi, a 33 year old former music director at St. Margaret of Scotland Roman Catholic Church in Selden, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court to having sex with an 11 year old girl who was his music student. He had been giving keyboard and voice lessons for two years to the girl and had sexual intercourse and oral sex between the two of them which took place in his van and at his home at 11 Turnberry Street in Setauket. Filippi had been the church's music director from 1994 until the fall of 2001 when the pastor, the Rev. Chris Aridas, asked him to resign for behavior deemed inappropriate. Aridas's action came after the pastor discovered Filippi had been alone with a girl. The parents of the girl met with Aridas after discovering two alarming e-mails, one from their daughter to Filippi and another from Filippi to the girl and that is what led to the arrest.  The girl also served as a baby-sitter for his two young children. Assistant District Attorney Jodi Spagnoli said, He is charged with continually raping this girl over a period of six to 12 months. He gave police a five-page written confession and scientific evidence corroborates the confession. He was indicted on five counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.  Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, an advocate for victims of child sex abuse urged parents of other children who had contact with Filippi to have a discussion with their children and contact police if they suspect abuse. Filiippi pleaded guilty to first-degree rape and will serve 12 years in prison as part of a plea deal approved by Acting State Supreme Court Justice Michael Mullen.

Assistant District Attorney Raymond Tierney said there was evidence Filippi had sexually abused young girls elsewhere besides Long Island.  By no stretch of the imagination was this an isolated incident, Tierney said.

Not once did Filippi look over at the girl while she poured out her anguish Friday to Judge Mullen in Riverhead.  Over the past year, there were days I didn't want to wake up, she said.  I'm not sure if I will run into another monster like Mr. Filippi.  She said, I hope he suffers every single day and never sees the clouds or the stars again.  I hope he never sees another child again.  I hope he dies knowing that he was never loved, never cared for and never deserving of an ounce of the respect that he got.  Turning to Filippi, whose gaze remained fixed on the court clerk's desk, the girl said, I hope you burn in hell.  Without turning and in a barely audible voice, Filippi apologized.  I have disgraced the church, he said.  I have embarrassed my family, my parents and especially my wife and two children.  Mullen told him he broke vows to many people in his drive to satisfy himself.  You made a commitment to love your wife, and you broke that, he said.  You were put in a position of trust as a teacher, and you violated that trust.  Even worse, you did so claiming you were bringing God into this girl's life.  Did you once ask yourself what God would have had you do in that position?

News of Filippi's arrest followed the removal of the church's former parish priest, Rev. Angelo Ditta, from his duties as chaplain at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. He also conducted Mass on Sundays at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mattituck. He worked at St. Margaret from 1986 to 1989, where he is accused of molesting a 9 year old boy in his bedroom at the rectory.

(Selden, New York)