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A former Bronx middle school teacher was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for raping a 13-year-old student.
Jonathan Pol, 31, learned his fate in Bronx Criminal Court. He pleaded guilty to rape charges in May after police and prosecutors found he had sex with and exchanged inappropriate text messages with a 13-year-old girl over the course of five months in 2018 and 2019.
Pol, who taught at the Mott Haven Community School in the South Bronx, was sentenced to three years in prison and ten years of supervision after his release by Judge Laurence Busching.
“The defendant used his position of power to engage in a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl. His assaults on the victim led to life-altering trauma,” said Darcel Clark, the Bronx District Attorney.
In May 2019, shortly after Pol found out he was under investigation, authorities discovered him on a highway divider distraught and threatening to jump..
He was sent to Jacobi Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation and reassigned away from the classroom, according to police and the Department of Education. Pol was arrested the following day.
Pol’s victim’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect her daughter’s identity, said in an emotional statement in court Thursday that her child is still coping with the fallout.
“Therapy is now a part of our daily lives,” she said. “For the rest of our lives [we] will have scars that will always remind us of what happened.”
She added that the abuse points to a larger problem in the city’s public school system.
“Families... are not being protected by a system and its staff that are supposed to be designed to take care of its children internally and externally,” she said.
Scott Rynecki, the victim’s lawyer, agrees.
“The New York City Department of Education is failing when it comes to dealing with sexual assault upon students,” he said.
The city’s Department of Education spokeswoman Jenna Lyle said in a statement the actions of the former teacher “were absolutely deplorable.”
“He was immediately removed from schools once we became aware of these allegations and was no longer employed by the DOE as of September 2019,” she added.