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Former public school dean convicted in 2003 spanking scandal lied on application to be Uniondale substitute teacher, DA says

William Rini, 59, of Manhasset, surrendered to Nassau authorities

William Rini, 59, of Manhasset, surrendered to Nassau authorities in Mineola on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, after allegedly lying on an application to be a Uniondale substitute teacher, a prosecutor's spokesman said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

An ex-Queens public school dean previously convicted in a student spanking scandal surrendered to prosecutors Thursday after allegedly lying on an application to be a Uniondale substitute teacher.

The Nassau district attorney's office charged William Rini, 59, of Manhasset, with a felony count of offering a false instrument for filing.

Court records show Rini has a 2004 misdemeanor conviction for endangering the welfare of a child. But prosecutors said he denied having any criminal convictions when filling out a job application with the Uniondale school district in 2014.

A judge released Rini on his own recognizance Thursday after an arraignment in Hempstead district court.

In 2003, Rini had been the dean of discipline and a social studies teacher at IS 145 in Jackson Heights.

At that time, Queens prosecutors charged him with endangering the welfare of five 13-year-old boys he supervised after Rini allegedly spanked four of the junior high school students after school in his van, sometimes using a hairbrush to do it.

Queens authorities also had accused Rini of enlisting another 13-year-old boy to offer $65 to induce the other students to lie to the school's principal about the spankings.

Rini's attorney, Victor Knapp, said Thursday that his client had devoted his life to teaching, and he believed he had made ends meet by tutoring students after his 2003 arrest.

The Kew Gardens lawyer said his client had gotten a one-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in the earlier case. He said he was looking into whether his client understood that he had a criminal conviction because of the nature of the sentence he'd received.

"At the very least, there was some confusion," Knapp said.

Prosecutors said the state revoked Rini's teaching certificate in 2006, and acting District Attorney Madeline Singas thanked Uniondale school officials Thursday for helping to make sure Rini "never made it near a classroom and will be held accountable for his actions."

Uniondale Union Free School District Superintendent William Lloyd said in a statement that Rini was among more than 100 candidates who applied to be a substitute teacher during a 2014 job fair, and "was never hired."

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