Kathy Tuifel, a 46 year old Hicksville teacher's aide, was arrested in 2002 and charged with three counts of first-degree rape for allegedly having sex with an 11 year old legally blind student she tutored and befriended.  The boy told school officials about the alleged abuse and police went to her home and arrested her.  Authorities said that in addition to the boy's account, they have a witness to the crime.  A police source said Tuifel's husband had caught her in the act.

Tuifel has pleaded guilty to raping the boy in a plea deal that will allow her to avoid heavy jail time for her crimes.

Judge Jeffrey Brown told her that he would drop the first degree rape charge against her if she would plead guilty to second degree rape, and two counts of sexual abuse, when he sentences her.  He promised her that, instead of a possible 25 years behind bars, she would receive only six months in jail and 10 years probation.  She would also be required to receive psychiatric therapy and be listed as a state sex offender.

Tuifel got a slap on the wrist, a six month jail sentence.  After admitting the sex abuse to the judge, her lawyer said she maintains she was innocent, but pleaded guilty just to avoid heavy jail time.  

Tuifel's husband, Robert, fought to keep his wife away from their children when she's released from jail.  With time off for good behavior, she's scheduled to be set free February 14.  And she's asked the court to allow her to live with her children, 15 and 13, and the judge considered her request.

But, Nassau County Family Court Judge Tammy Robbins issued a temporary order of protection last week against her.  The order prohibits Tuifel from going to the family's Hicksville home or having unsupervised contact with the couple's children.  The children have been living with their father.

Laura Ahearn, executive director for Parents for Megan's Law and Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Resource and Suppport Center, opposes Kathy Tuifel's spending unsupervised time with her children and has been supporting Robert Tuifel's efforts.  

(New York)