TEACHER CLEARED IN STUDENT-SEX CASE
Francis Catapano, a 62 year old Catholic school teacher, is described by neighbors as the ideal family man, and by former students as a friend. Catapano pleaded innocent on November 15, 2002, to charges he sexually abused a female student during a two-year affair. He was charged with sexually abusing a girl before she turned 17, while he tutored her in math. He was also accused of endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $2,500 bail.
The girl testified on September 12, 2005, that Catapano had once made her swoon, despite being more than 40 years her senior. He gave her stuffed animals and cute notes, while she called him boyfriend and sweetie before her freinds. Catapano faced a year in jail if convicted of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
On September 20, the Queens jury acquitted Catapano of the charges.