NEW YORK (AP) – A Queens gym teacher stood charged with raping a student Tuesday, after an alleged year-long relationship was uncovered.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, Joy Morsi, 39, had no joy as she left her arraignment in Queens Criminal Court. She also had no answer when reporters questioned her about the charges.
Morsi, of Massapequa, Long Island, was charged with rape, criminal sexual conduct, and endangering the welfare of a child, for her alleged acts with a 16-year-old male student. The affair began in June of last year, prosecutors said.
The age of consent in New York state is 17.
“This case is particularly disturbing because the defendant is a teacher and schools should be safe havens for children,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “Instead, this defendant is accused of sexually preying upon one of her students during rendezvous all over the school.”
Morsi, who teaches physical education at Grover Cleveland High School, at 21-27 Himrod St. in Ridgewood, Queens, was charged in a 41-count indictment that prosecutors said involved “multiple incidents” with the student over a seven week period last year in the basement and other locations at the school.
She also allegedly sent emails to the student asking if he was a virgin, and allegedly sent raunchy photos.
Prosecutors said Morsi got angry with the student when she found out he was taking a date to the prom.
Released on $25,000 bond, Morsi was flanked by her bondsman and her attorney at the hearing Tuesday. The city Department of Education has suspended her.
“It’s a suspension without pay until a determination is made as to whether she can return,” said defense attorney Virginia Lopreto.
Not only was Morsi herself making no comment, but neither was her husband who showed up at court. The alleged relationship with the student, said to be on the wrestling team, was reported to authorities by another student.
Some students told CBS 2 they liked the teacher.
“She was a cool teacher, she was, you know, I never saw that coming,” said Jamal Velovic. “I just saw her as a regular gym teacher.”
“I’m in shock,” said Mia Torres, “because I never expected that from any teacher.”
In addition to the charges, the judge ordered Morsi to stay away from the teen in person, email, text, or any other form of conduct.
Morsi has been a physical education teacher at Grover Cleveland High School since 1999.