Stoney Creek high school teacher found guilty of sexual offences with student

A Stoney Creek high school teacher was found guilty Thursday of two sexual-related charges involving a former student.

Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing or offensive to readers

A Stoney Creek high school teacher was found guilty Thursday of two sexual-related charges involving a former student.

Giuseppe Graziano, a 55-year-old former teacher at Cathedral Secondary School, was convicted of two counts – sexual interference with a person under 14 and sexual exploitation.

Graziano's sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9, 2015.

The victim's name and the witnesses involved in the case are protected by a publication ban.

The victim testified during the trial that he had engaged in several sexual acts with Graziano, the victim's former religion teacher, between Grades 9 and 11 from 2007 until 2010.

Their relationship began with after-school conversations about the victim's troubles at home.

But that relationship eventually became "more than just a student-teacher relationship," Justice Harrison Arrell ruled.

The victim told the courts that Graziano began touching him as the class was being shown a film. The teacher placed his hand near the victim's groin and whispered "It's OK, I'm here for you, buddy," according to the testimony.

Their relationship got more explicit in Grade 10, the victim testified, when they'd meet in an empty cosmetology classroom during a spare period. Behind locked doors, Graziano would masturbate and perform oral sex on the victim, the court heard.

This act continued several times that school year, though how often was not clear, the judge ruled.

Graziano carried out the same acts at his home and trailer, the court heard. The victim's testimony said Graziano would bring the student back for hired work. In one instance, the victim was invited over to clean the teacher's chicken coop.

The victim switched schools for Grade 12 and Graziano was said to have approached the victim's girlfriend, asking how he was. Graziano called the boy "sweet," and asked if he could have the victim's phone number, according to testimony.

When the girlfriend didn't give the teacher his number, Graziano walked with her to a pay phone to inquire about more work for the victim, the court heard.

"This was more than a teacher looking to employ a student," Arrel said. "This was a relationship of affection."

Graziano was visibly upset as the judge read the ruling. He shook his head throughout the accounts of sexual acts, and then buried his head in his hands as the judge declared the teacher guilty of both charges.

As Graziano was being led out of the courtroom, he looked at the victim and mouthed the words "thank you."

Repeat offender

Thursday's ruling was not the first time Graziano had been linked with sexually related offences involving students.

The high school teacher was sentenced in 2013 to six months for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student several years prior.

Because of a later appeal, Graziano is still serving those six months.

In fact, it was the earlier charges that lead to victim in the most recent trial coming forward.

The victim's mother, who was unaware of any relationship between her child and the teacher, was reading an article about Graziano's charges. She asked her son if he knew any of the victims, according to the testimony, and he then became very agitated, telling the mother everything that had happened.

The defence suggested this reaction could indicate that the victim was capitalizing on the other charges, looking to sue the school board by fabricating a story, the judge explained in an overview of the case. He shot down those suggestions.

"If he did invent it, he must be an incredible fiction writer," said Arrell.

Graziano was denied bail, and will continue serving his six-month sentence until this case's sentence hearing. That hearing is schedule for Oct. 9.