A P.E. teacher is accused of raping a teen student at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, Queens, last summer, prosecutors said. Credit: Google Maps
A gym teacher was charged on Tuesday with raping a teen student at a public high school in Queens last summer, officials said.
Grover Cleveland High School P.E. teacher Joy Morsi, 39, was charged with 20 counts of both third-degree rape and criminal sexual act, as well as one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
Authorities said Morsi had sexual relations with a male student in the basement and other locations inside the Ridgewood high school throughout June and July of 2013.
The relationship began around 10 a.m. on June 5, when Morsi brought the then-16-year-old student into a closet in the school's gym and exposed her breasts to him, according to court papers. Prosecutors said she then had sex with him.
Morsi had sexual contact with the student 20 to 30 more times between June 6 and July 24, 2013, according to the criminal complaint.
"This case is particularly disturbing because the defendant is a teacher and schools should be safe havens for children," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "Instead, this defendant is accused of sexually preying upon one of her students during rendezvous all over the school."
A lawyer representing Morsi did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Her bail was set at $25,000.
In a statement, the Department of Education said Morsi was removed from the classroom after the allegations surfaced.
"We find these claims disturbing and reprehensible and she will remain reassigned -- far from any student and the school -- pending a criminal investigation," the department said. "We will work closely with the school to ensure they are given any needed support."
Morsi faces up to four years in prison if convicted. She is expected in court again on June 23.