Wolcott High School physical education teacher, Michael Forgione, was arrested Thursday, Sept. 5 for the sexual assault of a student. Forgione made bail of $10,000, agreeing to appear in court at Waterbury Superior Court on Sept. 12.
Wolcott Police initially heard from a student in Wolcott High School back in May. Right after the student explained the situation to the police, Forgione was placed on leave by the school, for the sake of investigation. Police investigated the claims and obtained an arrest warrant from a judge. There was enough probable cause to detain Forgione.
Forgione’s attorney was made aware that he had a warrant over his head and decided it was best to have Forgione turn himself in on Sept. 5, the day the warrant was signed. Once arrested, Forgione was thrown into the ceaseless flow of the criminal justice system. He was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace.
Forgione’s attorney, Ioannis Kaloidis, released a public statement due to the accusations leveled by the student.
“Mr. Forgione is innocent of all the baseless charges that have been leveled against him,” said Kaloidis, “Mr. Forgione intends to fight all the charges vigorously and looks forward to being vindicated at the end of what we anticipate will be a long and painful process.”
The statement went on to explain that Forgione fully co-operated with law enforcement and that all allegations were unsubstantiated. Apparently, despite many people being present for the supposed incident, no one has come forward to say that they saw anything.
“No one saw anything,” said Kaloidis, “because nothing happened.”
As a teacher and coach for over 20 years, Forgione has never been accused of any form of misconduct before. In the case to be tried on Sept. 12, his career is at risk, due to the allegations against him. Wolcott High School has not made any public statement regarding the case.
Accusations of sexual assault are taken seriously by law enforcement and people in positions of authority, like the school faculty that placed Forgione on leave prior to there even being a police investigation. Allegations of this nature result in people being arrested and charged for sex crimes. Whether or not Forgione is innocent or guilty, following his lawyer’s instructions is probably the optimal strategy for dealing with the situation. If anyone is accused of a sexual crime, whether they are innocent or not, they should seek the help of a defense attorney to represent and advise them in criminal cases.
As a private citizen, someone like Forgione would be vulnerable on their own. Access to an attorney is not just the right of the people in criminal proceedings, it helps to balance the scales of justice and ensure that truth is discovered. Receiving the help of a lawyer does not make anyone more or less guilty than they otherwise would be, it simply creates a fair and equal system that enables criminal justice to be carried out efficiently.