OOSINING, N.Y. – The wedding is off.
Westchester County high school teacher John Azabache, 31, was set to wed a White Plains woman last Friday, but something suddenly came up:
He was arrested and charged with raping a 16-year-old student.
Parents of the teen contacted police and alleged Azabache engaged in sexual activities with their daughter on two occasions between March and July 1 of this year, as his fiancée was undoubtedly making wedding arrangements, the Journal News reports.
“It all just came out at once,” the bride-to-be’s 92-year-old grandmother, Josephine DeLuccia, told the news site. “He always seemed like a nice guy. I don’t know what happened. You men are all alike. You stink. I hope they send him to jail forever.”
DeLuccia said her granddaughter, Amanda Rae DeLuccia, called off the wedding and went to the movies with friends instead of exchanging vows Friday.
“I’m heartbroken for her,” Josephine DeLuccia said. “She doesn’t deserve this. She’s such a beautiful, smart girl.”
The victim’s parents contacted police last Wednesday and the school district was alerted Thursday. Azabache was “reassigned from teaching and barred from school grounds,” according to media reports.
The alleged incidents did not occur on school property or during school hours.
The math teacher pleaded not guilty to third-degree rape in Ossining Town Court. Justice Nancy Quinn Koba set his bail at $50,000 and ordered him not to have any contact with the victim, his former fiancé, or two of her relatives that were “witnesses to events after the fact,” NBC New York reports.
Azabache’s attorney Tony Castro made sure reporters covering the story are well aware of his “stellar record as a school teacher,” according to media reports.
Castro also stressed that Azabache didn’t force himself on the student.
“I just want to note that what he’s being charged with does not involve any forcible compulsion,” he said. “It involves an alleged incident with a minor, someone who is just under 17 years old.”
By Victor Skinner at EAGnews.org