2017-10-11 / Front Page

Ridgewood ‘Perv” Teacher Busted

By Liz Goff
A Ridgewood math teacher was arrested on October 6 for sending lurid, graphic photos and videos of himself to a former student when she was 14-years-old, police said.

Michael Cognato, 35, of Bethpage, L.I., was the victim’s eighth grade math teacher at Intermediate School 93 in Ridgewood, according to the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Cognato tutored the girl following her graduation from the school, initiated sexually explicit conversations with her on Facebook messaging and Skype, and sent at least 15 naked photos of himself to her over the summer, Brown said. The girl then sent sexually explicit photos of herself to Cognato, and the two exchanged graphic sexual videos of each other, Brown said.
Cognato was arrested after the girl’s mother discovered the activity and called police, prosecutors said.
Cognato began working as a teacher at IS93 in 2001, according to the Department of Education. Following his arrest, Cognato “was immediately removed from the school and reassigned away from children,” a DOE spokesperson said. He continues to collect his $82,995 annual salary performing administrative duties in a central Department of Education office.
A DOE spokesperson described Cognato’s actions as “deeply disturbing,” saying “they have no place in our schools.” DOE officials will pursue removing Cognato from the payroll, the spokesperson said.
Cognato was arraigned at Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging hum with 33 counts, including using a child in a sexual performance, promoting a sexual performance by a child, sending indecent material to a minor, and acting in a manner injurious to a child. He is facing 15 years in prison, if convicted.


 


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