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Former teacher at Willoughby Hills high school accused of sexually abusing students

January 16, 2018

Former teacher at Willoughby Hills high school accused of sexually abusing students

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio -- A North Royalton man faces dozens of charges that accuse him of sexually abusing two students at a private high school where he worked in Willoughby Hills.

Anthony J. Polizzi Jr., 41, is charged with 46 counts of sexual battery, 34 counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count of attempted sexual battery in connection with a series of incident that happened at Cornerstone Christian Academy, where he taught history, according to police reports and court records.

Polizzi was initially indicted July 31 in Lake County Common Pleas Court, but a grand jury handed up dozens of additional charges Dec. 29. He was arrested Jan. 5 and was released from the Lake County Jail after posting a $10,000 bond, records show.

The two women who have accused Polizzi of sexually abusing them were 18 and 17 years old at the time, police said.

Polizzi’s attorney, Joseph Patituce, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

One of the women reported that Polizzi sexually abused her when she was a senior in high school in early 2010. Polizzi was “unusually friendly” toward her and messaged her on Facebook, according to a police report.

Polizzi took the student to a park across the street from the school. He groped her and kissed her, then told her she could be expelled if she told anyone, the report says.

Polizzi sexually abused the student at least 10 other times at the school, in a nearby parking lot and at a Willoughby Hills apartment complex, the report says.

Detectives learned of the second woman while investigating the first woman’s accusations against Polizzi, police said.

Polizzi left Cornerstone Christian Academy in 2010. The school’s leadership has changed since that time, current Head of School Sandi Ortiz said.

Ortiz said the school first learned of the accusations against Polizzi six months ago.

“We are deeply troubled by these allegations,” she said. “We’ve cooperated fully with the investigation, and we’re committed to continuing that cooperation.”

Ortiz said she is unaware of the reason Polizzi left the school in 2010.

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