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Former NFA assistant coach appears in court

September 20, 2018

Anthony Facchini made a brief court appearance Thursday on two charges of second-degree sexual assault allegedly involving sexual relations with Norwich Free Academy students while he was an assistant coach at the high school.

“No comment, sorry,” Facchini said after leaving Norwich Superior Court on Thursday morning with his attorney, Bryan Fiengo.

His case was transferred to New London Superior Court Part A, where serious crimes are prosecuted, for a court appearance Friday. Warrants in the case are sealed until Sept. 26.

Facchini, 25, of 210 Broadway, Norwich, was charged on Sept. 12 with two counts of second-degree sexual assault under state Statute 53a-71 in a Norwich police investigation that revealed Facchini allegedly had sexual relations with two students at NFA starting in 2017. The statute includes prohibitions on relations between school employees or coaches and students at the school.

Facchini served as an assistant coach for outdoor and indoor track and football from spring of 2017 through the 2017-18 school year and as strength and conditioning coach for the 2017-18 school year.

NFA fired Facchini July 12 with a one-sentence termination letter that made no reference to the police investigation. His firing came one month after another teacher at the school alerted school officials about the alleged inappropriate relationship.

Responding to an Freedom of Information Act request from The Day, NFA on Thursday released a “Report of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect” filed June 11, 2018, by Thomas Teixeira, teacher and head coach of boys’ indoor and outdoor track teams. Teixeira wrote that he had received information that Facchini “was currently in an inappropriate sexual relationship with (name redacted).” School officials redacted the alleged victim’s name, parents’ names, address and phone number.

Teixeira wrote in the state-mandated reporting form that the information he received originated from a former student who allegedly had had a previous inappropriate relationship with Facchini.

Under a heading on the form titled “What action, if any, has been taken to treat, provide shelter or otherwise assist the child?” Teixeira wrote, “School officials and administrators have been notified.”

The report was filed one day after Teixeira made a state-mandated oral report to Sharon A. Walters, listed as the “Careline worker” in the report. According to the state Department of Children and Families Child Abuse and Neglect Careline Practice Guide, a reporter of suspected abuse or neglect brings the suspicions “to the attention of DCF, usually by calling Careline.”

NFA’s abuse and neglect policy requires all academy employees to report suspected abuse or neglect of a student and outlines the procedures to be followed, including an oral report of suspected abuse be made to DCF or law enforcement agency within 24 hours “of reasonably suspecting or believing that a child has been abused or is in danger of being abused.” A written report is required immediately following the oral report, the policy states.

“All personnel shall cooperate fully with the investigation of suspected abuse or neglect by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), a law enforcement agency, and/or the Office of Protection and Advocacy (for persons with disabilities), and with all court proceedings involving suspected abuse or neglect,” the policy states.

Throughout the afternoon of Sept. 12, Norwich police with assistance from the FBI Computer Analysis Response Team and the state police Computer Crimes Unit executed a search and seizure warrant at NFA.

The search and seizure warrant also is sealed.

Three-year NFA Athletic Director Eric Swallow resigned Sept. 10, two days before the arrest and search and seizure activity on campus. NFA officials have not said whether his resignation is connected to the investigation.

NFA officials have said they are cooperating fully with police in the investigation. The board of trustees discussed the investigation as a personnel matter behind closed doors for 90 minutes Tuesday.

c.bessette@theday.com 

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