Optimum Customers: Your Newsday access has been extended until Oct 1st. Enroll now to continue your access.

LEARN MORE
TODAY'S PAPER
63° Good Morning
63° Good Morning
Long IslandCrime

Judge declines to modify bail conditions for Massapequa teacher charged with child porn

Joseph Zanco, 43, of Massapequa, was suspended without pay in August by the school district after he was arrested by federal agents.

Joseph Zanco, left, a teacher from Massapequa High

Joseph Zanco, left, a teacher from Massapequa High School, with his lawyer Alan Nelson as they both leave federal court in Central Islip on Aug. 13. Photo Credit: John Roca

A federal judge declined Wednesday to modify the bail conditions of a Massapequa High School physics teacher arrested on child pornography charges so the man could attempt to return to work and collect his salary.

Joseph Zanco, 43, of Massapequa, was suspended without pay in August by the school district after he was arrested by federal agents on one count of transportation of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography, according to his attorney, Alan Nelson of Lake Success.

Federal officials have said Zanco began uploading “hundreds of images of child pornography” in April to the storage feature on his Google account.

Zanco, who has taught at the high school for 12 years, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released on $300,000 bond. Among the conditions of his release  are home confinement and monitoring by an electronic bracelet.  He is barred from being in  the presence of anyone under 18 years old unless a responsible adult is present.

Nelson said in federal court in Central Islip that the district’s stopping his client’s pay was creating an economic hardship.  He asked that the judge allow Zanco to return to work in an administrative building adjoining the high school where, the attorney said, his client would not come in contact with children.

Among the non-classroom t duties Zanco could perform in the administrative building were the preparation and forwarding of lesson plans, Nelson said.

But U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco refused  to modify the release conditions. While noting that Zanco is not accused of molesting any children, Bianco said “the mere fact [he would be] on school grounds creates an unacceptable risk.” 

Bianco said Zanco could  ask the school district to allow him to work at home on duties that did not place him in contact with schoolchildren.

Nelson said he would try to do so, and also get Zanco a hearing on whether the school district had a right to suspend his client without pay.

A spokeswoman for the district, Deirdre Gilligan, said in a statement, "The district does not comment on matters of personnel. However, I can confirm that he is no longer on payroll."

She said his salary for the 2017-18 school year was $110,441.

Both Nelson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Maffei declined to comment after the hearing.

Latest Long Island News