Former Stamford substitute teacher charged with destroying evidence
STAMFORD — A former substitute teacher who had been banned from two of the city’s public schools was charged Wednesday with destroying evidence as police investigated accusations of him having an inappropriate relationship with a student.
Joseph Lombardo, 60, of Norwalk, turned himself in to Stamford police Wednesday and was released after posting a $10,000 bond for the felony charge.
Youth Bureau Sgt. Joseph Kennedy said the arrest stemmed from a March 29 complaint made to a police officer at Stamford High School. Kennedy said a female student complained about Lombardo’s conduct and behavior.
Kennedy said police discovered similar complaints were previously made about Lombardo at Westhill High School and the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering.
Kennedy said the principals at those schools banned Lombardo from substituting when the two other students made the complaints.
A spokeswoman for Stamford Public Schools said Wednesday she was not aware of the accusations.
Kennedy said Lombardo was referred to the school district’s human resources department after the Stamford High student made the complaint.
Kennedy said Lombardo deleted his text messages before police were able to examine them.
”We were able to prove that he purposefully deleted the text messaging off his phone to keep it out of the police investigation,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the student was able to show police some of the text messages on her phone.
Lombardo’s attorney Philip Russell said he did not believe a crime occurred.
”I think we all have to be suspicious when the top count of this arrest is destroying evidence of a crime, because there is no crime charged, besides destroying evidence of a crime, which would lead a person to suspect that there is no underlying crime," Russell said.
Russell said his client did not have an inappropriate relationship with any students.
”There have been whispers and rumors, but there are no crimes charged. There are no rules broken or policies violated,” Russell said. "I am concerned that puritanical concerns and judgments, rather than subjective violations of the law have overcome the legal discipline that should govern criminal prosecutions.”