Bellport High School teacher accused of sex with student

May 6, 2013 3:00:38 PM PDT
A Bellport High School teacher was charged more than six months after he was suspended for allegedly having a relationship with a 16 year old student.

The teacher was in court Monday.

He was in a position of trust as a tenured 11th grade teacher at Bellport High School.

Prosecutors say 26-year-old Jonathan Elsalam systematically seduced one of his students, a girl, 10 years younger than he is, and carried on an affair that lasted nearly an entire school year.

"She was a young impressionable underage female. He seized the moment, took advantage of it, and she thought there was something going on that meant something, and it was clear that she was misguided and misled," said Jeffrey Brown, the victim's lawyer.

Brown says the sex took place in cars, motels, a classroom, and even in Elsalam's parents' house in Ridge.

They said nothing after their son was arraigned on charges of rape and criminal sex acts.

"What I can say on camera is I have no comment," Elsalam's lawyer said.

The victim's attorney says the case extends far beyond the teacher's actions.

There's now a federal suit against Elsalam, another teacher, and the South Country School District for allegedly looking the other way. The lawsuit alleges that other teachers and students knew about the relationship.

"He would seem like he would flirt with some people," said Sarah Barry, a student.

Student Sarah Barry never had Elsalam as a teacher, but definitely heard the rumors, and can't imagine administrators didn't as well.

Those rumors apparently swirled as a teacher allegedly preyed on a teenager who prosecutors say just didn't know any better.

"I think it was just really stupid of him because he threw away his job, his career everything in life, and it's just something really stupid that he did," Barry said.