Gateway High School Teacher Faces Sexual Assault Charges
Franklin Joseph Vigo, Jr., a teacher at Gateway High School in Monroeville, PA is facing sexual assault charges as well as a list of other charges including endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and indecent assault. Vigo is free on $50,000 bond. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 17.
Watch Attorney David Shrager discuss the allegations on several news channels and read about this case in the newspaper articles below.
CBS Pittsburgh – October 17, 2016
MONROEVILLE (KDKA) — Gateway High School science teacher Franklin Vigo left court Monday with his attorney and his entire family by his side.
“His whole family is back here supporting him because they know what kind of man he is. And I know what kind of man he is and we’re going to litigate this case aggressively,” said attorney David Shrager.
Vigo was held for trial on all charges, including indecent assault and institutional sexual assault.
A student claims Vigo touched her buttocks after she bent over to pick something up, but Vigo’s attorney denies the charges.
“This never happened, it never occurred I’m confident in that and I look forward to, we’re going to be able to get to the truth of this when we have our trial,” Shrager said.
The alleged victim also claims Vigo “hovers around her desk,” “stares at her” and she feels he’s “trying to look down her shirt.”
“Right now, we’re in a very scary time. There are teachers who are doing things to students that they should not be doing and they need to be punished for that. My client is not one of those teachers,” Shrager said. “He’s being caught up in a witch hunt and we’re very very nervous this can happen to other teachers.”
Whatever happens as the case moves forward, Shrager said Vigo’s reputation has already been tarnished.
“Whenever you’re accused of a crime like this, two years later when you get shown to be innocent, no one knows about it, it’s already damaged his reputation, that’s why he’s standing here today, he’s not afraid of anything, he’s not embarrassed of anything, he didn’t do anything.”
CBS Pittsburgh – October 5, 2016 –
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Gateway High School teacher has turned himself into police after an incident involving a student.
According to police, Franklin Joseph Vigo, Jr. is facing a list of charges including, institutional sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and indecent assault.
Vigo is a science teacher. The accusations were first brought forth last month, and since then he has been on paid administrative leave.
“I’m surprised and disappointed,” said defense attorney David Shrager. “The allegations are certainly untrue. We’re anxious to go to court and address these charges.”
According to officials, the student claims Vigo allegedly touched her buttocks. But Vigo’s attorney claims the incident never happened.
“We categorically deny these charges,” Shrager said. “My client has been an exemplary teacher. He denies this vehemently. There’s absolutely no truth to it whatsoever.”
In a criminal complaint, the girl told investigators, “Mr. Vigo touched her buttocks with his hand.” She said it was “not a full-on grab and squeeze, but not just a swipe or brush either.”
Authorities say she also claims Vigo “hovers around her desk,” “stares at her,” and she also feels he’s “trying to look down her shirt.”
“Unfortunately, we live in a society where accusations are enough to damn someone, especially when they’re involving students and sex,” Shrager said.
There was no immediate reaction from the school district on the latest developments. But when the accusations were first brought forth, a letter was sent home to parents alerting them to the investigation.
In the letter, the superintendent said:
“Gateway High School administrators were informed of these allegations on Tuesday, September 20th and immediately contacted child protective services and notified local law enforcement agencies. This allegation involves one student and stems from an incident within a classroom.”
Vigo is free on $50,000 bond. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 17.
WPXI Channel 11 News – Updated:
MONROEVILLE, Pa. – A Gateway High School teacher facing charges including institutional sexual assault turned himself into police Wednesday, Monroeville Police Chief Doug Cole said.
According to a criminal complaint, a 14-year-old female student reported that teacher Franklin Vigo Jr. “touched her buttocks with his hand” last month.
Officials said the alleged incident happened in a classroom at the high school.
The girl told investigators that it was “not a full on grab and squeeze, but not just a swipe or brush either,” and that the “action made her feel uncomfortable,” the complaint said.
The Gateway School District sent a letter to parents on Sept. 22 after the accusation was brought to the attention of school officials. It said, in part:
“Gateway School District received information that a professional employee may have violated the District policy regarding staff/student boundaries. Gateway High School Administrators were informed of these allegations on Tuesday, September 20th and immediately contacted Child Protective Services and notified local law enforcement agencies. This allegation involves one student and stems from an incident within a classroom. The employee was placed on immediate paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigative report.”
Vigo faced a magistrate after turning himself in Wednesday and was released on $50,000 bail.
WTAE Channel 4 News – UPDATED 6:15 PM EDT Oct 05, 2016
14-year-old student tells Monroeville police that Franklin Joseph Vigo Jr. touched her during school
Franklin Joseph Vigo Jr., 53, of Apollo, was taken away in handcuffs after his arraignment at district court. Bail was set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17.
His lawyer, David J. Shrager, told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 that the claims are false.
“We completely deny these charges,” Shrager said. “It’s our intention to fight this vigorously.”
The girl, identified only as Jane Doe, told police that the incident happened Sept. 19 as she was stepping out of the aisle to get to her seat during a geo-science class in which students were using computers that were not at their usual assigned seats.
“She said that Mr. Vigo had been in the back of the classroom, and he had just bent down to pick up something off the floor. Mr. Vigo then started to walk up the aisle from the back of the classroom to the front of the classroom. She said that when Mr. Vigo walked past her, he touched her buttocks with his hand,” according to the criminal complaint.
The girl told police that it was “not a full-on grab and squeeze, but not just a swipe or brush either,” and demonstrated by holding out her hand with an open palm and slightly moving it side to side.
“Jane Doe explained that when Mr. Vigo touched her buttocks, she immediately said ‘Mr. Vigo touched my butt’ out loud because the action made her feel uncomfortable,” the complaint said. “She then added that Mr. Vigo usually hears everything in class, but he never responded to her claim and continued walking toward the front of the class.”
The girl told police that Vigo “hovers around her desk” and sits on the window sill in front of her assigned seat. She said she frequently notices him staring at her “and she feels as if Mr. Vigo is trying to look down her shirt,” according to the complaint.
“The difficult is there are times when people are absolutely wrong, and they did things that were inappropriate,” Shrager said. “But there are also those situations where people are wrongly accused, and when they’re wrongly accused of a crime like this, it destroys their reputation.”
In addition to institutional sexual assault, the complaint shows that Vigo is charged with three other felonies — endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor — along with a misdemeanor count of indecent assault.
Nick Bogesdorfer, a 14-year-old Gateway student, said he has the teacher for his first-period class and is not surprised by the allegations.
Speaking with permission from his mother and stepfather, Bogesdorfer described the teacher: “He makes jokes here and there, inappropriate jokes about females, and he’s like, he always talks about their body and things.”
Sources confirm that the same teacher was accused of having pictures of a student on his computer circa 2011 and suspended as a result of that investigation.
“I was really creeped out, and I know he said some things to my friends too, and it was just a really creepy feeling,” said Bogesdorfer’s older sister, Paige.
Paige Bogesdorfer is now a college sophomore but said she had the same teacher for class when she was a Gateway student years ago.
WTAE Channel 4 News: Oct 05, 2016
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW ARTICLE
A Gateway High School teacher faces sex-related charges for allegedly touching a female student inappropriately during class Sept. 19.
Monroeville police charged Franklin Joseph Vigo Jr., 53, of Martin Road in Kiski Township, with endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and two counts of indecent assault.
Monroeville police Chief Doug Cole said Vigo turned himself in at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey L. Herbst’s Monroeville office, and he was transported to the Allegheny County Jail following arraignment.
“We investigated that case based on interviews and information that was given to us,” Cole said. “The school district did notify us. We did a consultation with the (Allegheny County) District Attorney’s Office. They approved our affidavit and the charges.”
Vigo’s attorney, David Joel Shrager, said his client is out on bond. Online court documents confirmed Vigo’s release after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bond in cash.
“My client has been a respected and excellent teacher for the length of his career,” Shrager said. “We categorically and totally deny the allegations. The allegations are baseless and specious. … We’re looking forward to aggressively defending this case. We live in a time where the mere allegation of misconduct can destroy a reputation. We intend to prove these charges are false.”
Vigo’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 17 before Herbst.
In a Sept. 22 letter to parents and guardians, Gateway Superintendent William Short said high school administrators learned of the allegation Sept. 20 and immediately contacted Child Protective Services and local law enforcement agencies.
Vigo was placed on “immediate paid administrative leave” following the allegation of violating district policy regarding boundaries between staff and students, Short’s letter said.
According to the criminal complaint, Vigo touched a 14-year-old girl’s buttocks during a fifth-period geoscience class.
The victim, identified in court documents only as “Jane Doe,” told detectives the touching was “not a full on grab and squeeze, but not just a swipe or a brush either,” and showed police by holding out her hand with an open palm and slightly moving it side to side.
The girl told police, she said, “Mr. Vigo touched my butt,” out loud because the action made her feel uncomfortable. “She then added Mr. Vigo usually hears everything in class, but he never responded to her claim and continued walking toward the front of the class,” the complaint said.
The victim told police that Vigo “frequently hovers around her desk” and sits on a windowsill in front of her assigned seat.
She said she frequently notices Vigo staring at her “and feels as if Mr. Vigo is trying to look down her shirt,” the complaint said.
Neither Short nor Chad Stubenbort, Gateway School Board president, immediately returned calls seeking comment.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE ARTICLE
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — October 5, 2016 4:24 PM
A Gateway High School geo-science teacher surrendered to police this morning on charges he touched a female student’s buttocks while walking past her in class last month.
Franklin Vigo, 53, of Apollo has been on paid administrative leave since late September, when Monroeville police began an investigation based on a referral from ChildLine, the state’s abuse-reporting hotline. He is charged with institutional sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, unlawful contact with a minor and two counts of indecent assault.
Mr. Vigo’s attorney, David J. Shrager, called the accusations “baseless,” saying his client is an “exemplary” teacher with no criminal history.
“We categorically and completely deny these allegations. … Unfortunately, we live in a time where a mere allegation besmirches someone’s reputation, and we intend to prove that it’s just that — an allegation.”
The 14-year-old student described the encounter that occurred Sept. 19 as “not a full on grab and squeeze, but not just a swipe or brush either,” Monroeville police Detective Derek Yohman wrote in criminal complaint, She “immediately said, ‘Mr. Vigo touched my butt’ out loud because the action made her feel uncomfortable,” the detective wrote. She told police the teacher didn’t respond and continued to walk toward the front of the classroom.
The girl described another incident in which the teacher looked directly at her said, “You don’t look a day over 16,” the complaint continued.
A school district representative couldn’t immediately be reached, but a letter home sent home to parents last month, said a high school employee was on leave during an investigation of whether he violated policy “regarding staff/student boundaries.”
“As a district, we are deeply concerned about this allegation and will always maintain that our top priority is protecting students/staff and ensuring a safe and welcoming environment,” the letter said.
A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 17 before District Judge Jeffrey L. Herbst.