Former Oxford teacher accused of not reporting sex abuse
OXFORD — A former Oxford High School teacher has been arrested for allegedly failing to report suspected child abuse at the school.
Jeffrey Giovacchino, 48, of Edmonds Road in Oxford, was charged with failure to report child abuse.
State Police said the suspected abuse happened two years ago. Giovacchino was taken into custody at 1 p.m, Wednesday. He was released after posting a $10,000 bond and will appear in Derby Superior Court on Jan. 28.
According to an arrest warrant written by Oxford Police Officer Jose Taverner, on Dec. 6, a 17-year-old student told school nurse Jodi Zaleha that she had been sexually assaulted in summer 2016 while attending a party in New Jersey.
The nurse reached out to the school’s social worker, who notified the girl’s mother and the Department of Children and Families.
The student told Zaleha that she had also disclosed the incident during the 2016-2017 school year to Giovacchino, a history teacher at the school — and a mandated reporter of alleged sexual assault, per state law — the warrant said.
The school’s principal, Dorothy Potter, told police that “Giovacchino at no time informed the school administration, DCF, or police of the incident.”
Potter also told police that Giovacchino “is currently on suspension for another incident,” though the warrant didn’t offer more details.
Police met with Giovacchino on Dec. 17, according to the warrant. Police said he told them he had told the student that he was a mandated reporter and that if she was harmed he would have to report the incident.
Giovacchino allegedly told police that the student had “implied what happened and Giovacchino stated he encouraged her to notify her parents and the authorities.”
The warrant says Giovacchino was concerned and checked in with the victim over the course of the year — but didn’t report the incident to authorities.
When police asked why not, the warrant says, Giovacchino said the victim “was vague and was not sure what happened.”
Police said that when they interviewed the victim, she said that when she told Giovacchino about the incident, “Giovacchino informed her what had happened to her in New Jersey was rape.”
The victim told police she was at a party in New Jersey and had smoked some marijuana with a boy and they began “fooling around.” She said the boy continued to force himself on her even after she told him she didn’t want to continue.
She said Giovacchino gave her his personal cellphone number and texted her the next summer to “check in” on her.
The warrant says the victim also said that Giovacchino told her “that he could not wait until she graduated from the high school so they could meet up to ‘talk s***’ about all the people he hated at work.’”
The victim told police she is receiving counseling and help now, but said that “if Giovacchino would have reported (the incident) two years ago she would have received the proper help she is receiving now,” according to the warrant.