LONG ISLAND CITY – Pelagia “Pelly” Papoutsis, a 33-year-old Assistant Principal at William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, was removed from her position on September 4 pending an ongoing probe into allegations that she was romantically involved with a then-17-year-old female student at the school, the New York Post reported.
Peter Maliarakis, like Papoutsis a Bryant employee and fellow-Greek American, publicized the alleged affair on a private (closed-group) Facebook page: “Things You Never Knew about Bryant High School,” and shared with the Post text messages the student sent to him regarding the relationship: “in hindsight, it was super obviously twisted and wrote,” she texted.
Maliarakis also said that Bryant Principal Namita Dwarka knew about the affair but “played along with it,” as Papoutsis was in Dwarka’s inner circle, the Post reported.
The student, now in college, was at the legal age of consent – 17 – in New York state for having sexual relations, and so even if the affair is legally proven, Papoutsis would not be subject to criminal prosecution. Nonetheless, she would most likely be removed from her position and terminated from the school altogether.
Papoutsis, the student, and Dwarka, all reached by the Post, had no comment.
But Regina Romain, a spokesperson for Special Commissioner of Investigation for NYC Schools Richard Condon, confirmed that an investigation was underway.
As for Maliarakis, he was removed from his duties in June, charged with 12 counts of incompetence and insubordination, the Post reported, and has subsequently filed a complaint with the Department of Education.
No longer a gym teacher, Maliarakis is relegated to sitting at a student desk for seix hours per day. “They want to show me for public humiliation,” he told the Post, “and to instill fear into the staff.”