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Teacher arraigned on sex charges involving up to 17 students 4-4-07

Syracuse, New York (AP)

An elementary music teacher at the Onondaga Nation School was
arraigned April 4 on charges of sexually abusing as many as 17 female
students between ages 7 and 14.

Albert Scerbo, 44, was joined in Onondaga County Court by
dozens of supporters, who said they were part of his church
congregation.

His supporters said they know a different man than the one
prosecutors described as a sexual predator.
"I feel very comfortable that this is not the character of
the man they're talking about. He's a godly man, he's a husband and a
father and I can't see that this is possible" said Becky Auyer, one
of Scerbo's supporters.

Scerbo was charged with 35 counts, including 17 of
endangering the welfare of a child, 11 of sexual conduct against a
child, and seven counts of sexual abuse. The incidents occurred from
Sept. 4, 2002, through Dec. 18, 2006, investigators said.
District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said all the victims
had been Scerbo's pupils at one time or another and that the
incidents all occurred at the school in the town of Onondaga.
Scerbo was originally arrested in December for having sexual
contact with two young girls, ages 7 and 8. But the list of victims
grew as deputies investigated Scerbo, Fitzpatrick said.
Onondaga Nation School officials suspended Scerbo following

his arrest and the Lafayette Central School District placed him on
administrative leave. The reservation school has about 80 pupils.
Nation spokeswoman Sue Lyons said she did not have a gender breakdown
of the student body but that the alleged victims made up about half
the female population.

The Onondaga Nation views this as a "catastrophe," but the
community is coming together to minimize the emotional damage to the
students, said Lyons.

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