A Shenendehowa High School track coach has been suspended without pay following the discovery that his teaching certification was invalidated after investigation of an alleged sexual relationship with a student in 1990.
A recommendation to fire Donald J. Paretta will be made to the district's board of education at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 7, said Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson.
Records from the New York State Education Department indicate that Paretta's state certification as a teacher of physical education was invalidated in 1995, the same year he was hired at Shenendehowa. The NYSED sent out a blanket notice of the invalidation to schools statewide on Jan. 24, 1996.
The invalidation hinged on a 1992 investigation into Paretta by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District that found he had engaged in sexual activity with a student age 15 and the 16 years of age on several occasions between November 1989 and December 1990. Paretta was a teacher and track coach at the Humanities High School in New York City during that time.
The school district's investigation and hearing on Paretta was a disciplinary measure, not a criminal matter. Criminal charges against Paretta were eventually dropped.
The investigation found that Paretta took the student to Aqueduct Race Track in November of 1990, and in the months afterward fondled him several times. The student's journal tells of sexual activity between the two, and investigators recorded a conversation that indicated Paretta "would like to sleep with the student again," according to the report.
The student's mother alerted authorities after reading accounts of sexual activity in the diary.
Paretta gave the student a graduation card containing $20 and a note stating "I will certainly miss your gorgeous face and great looking body."
Paretta admitted to having conversations with the teen about sexual orientation and fantasies, but denied any sexual contact.