Retired Long Island Teacher Accused of Molesting Dozens of Students Held on $600,000 Bail as More Victims Come Forward

A retired Long Island teacher, Thomas Bernagozzi, 76, has been ordered held on $600,000 bail as additional alleged victims have come forward, accusing him of molesting dozens of students over several decades. Bernagozzi, who taught at two elementary schools in Bay Shore between 1970 and 2000, was initially reported by two former male students under a state law that lifted the statute of limitations for abuse of a minor.

Prosecutors had previously requested a $1 million cash bail for Bernagozzi in December, but he was released with a monitoring device. However, a new indictment led to his arraignment on Wednesday, resulting in the reduced but still substantial bail amount. Despite the high bail, Bernagozzi’s attorney has vowed that it will be posted.

Disturbingly, prosecutors have alleged that the Bay Shore Union Free School District was aware of Bernagozzi’s misconduct and chose to turn a blind eye. As of now, 45 civil lawsuits have been filed against Bernagozzi and the district under the Child Victims Act, with 11 more victims coming forward since his arrest.

Bernagozzi was a widely beloved figure within the community, known for his involvement in extracurricular activities such as school plays and after-school sports. He frequently organized field trips to beaches, pools, Broadway shows, and sports events for his students. Shockingly, the victims ranged in age from 4 to 8 years old.

One of the victims, Ron Hubbard, was a student of Bernagozzi’s in 1976 and is among those who have filed a lawsuit. Hubbard revealed to ABC News that the abuse occurred both in the classroom and during baseball games. Prosecutors have also disclosed that a search of Bernagozzi’s home uncovered photos of hundreds of students.

In response to these allegations, Superintendent of Schools Steven Maloney issued a statement distancing the district from Bernagozzi’s actions. He emphasized that due to pending and ongoing litigation, the Bay Shore School District is unable to comment further but remains committed to ensuring the safety, health, and wellbeing of all students.

As this case continues to unfold, it is clear that the impact of Bernagozzi’s alleged actions has been far-reaching. With more victims coming forward and the mounting civil lawsuits, the community is left grappling with the shocking revelations surrounding a once-beloved teacher.


Author: CrimeDoor

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