The Flushing teacher accused of having a nine-month sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty Monday to statutory rape of the former student at his Forest Hills residence.
Daniel Reilly, 36, who was teaching sixth-grade English at IS 237 in Flushing when he was charged, met the victim at a grammar school he once worked at. According to District Attorney Richard Brown, the case came to light when the victim’s sister saw sexually explicit text messages on her phone. The victim’s family went to the school and met with school administrators who notified the Special Commissioner of Investigation.
He was charged with four counts of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act, one count of endangering the welfare of a child and six counts of third-degree sexual abuse. He was facing up to seven years in prison if convicted.
On Monday, Reilly, accompanied by his wife, appeared before Queens Criminal Court Judge Gia Morris in Kew Gardens and pleaded guilty to second-degree rape.
“The defendant has admitted to sexually taking advantage of one of his former students — a 14-year-old girl,” Brown said in a statement. “As a teacher and an adult, the defendant was in a position of power to know better.”
Sentencing is scheduled for July 22, at which time Morris will sentence Reilly to six months in jail and 10 years on probation. He will also have to surrender his teaching license and register on the state’s sex offender registry.
Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing and treating child sexual abuse, shared her thoughts on the sentence.
“Sometimes plea bargains are struck to protect victims from potentially traumatic trials, which is why New York Law must be amended to prefer minimum sentences of, at the very least, one year for any sex crime,” she said. “This sentence sends a message of tolerance, not a stark message of deterrence.”