BRISTOL - Former Bristol Eastern High School teacher and football coach Michael Archangelo, who is accused of sending inappropriate messages to a 14-year-old female student, will face prosecution, a judge decided Friday.
Archangelo, 45, of 59 Tanglewood Road, was denied a motion to enter Accelerated Rehabilitation - a first-time offender program - during a lengthy hearing in Bristol Superior Court. During the hearing, Judge Richard Dyer found that the allegations are too serious for a program, which would have resolved the case through a dismissal, provided Archangelo was compliant in rehabilitation.
Police allege Archangelo developed an inappropriate relationship with a female student in the fall of 2015, which resulted in a series of Facebook messages in December of that year, when the then physical education teacher told the girl he liked her “butt” and that she should send him a picture of it, according to multiple search warrants - which were used to search the cell phones of the former football coach and the student, as well as their Facebook profiles.
The girl sent a picture of herself in underwear, and Archangelo immediately asked for more photos, the girl told police. She refused and reported the alleged correspondence to authorities later that week in school.
The girl told police Archangelo also said to her that, if he didn’t have a wife and kids, “she would be his type of girl,” according to the warrants.
Additionally, Paul Rotiroti, the prosecutor, said Friday that Archangelo told the girl that “sex with an older man would be so much better” and that they could “do stuff” and “mess around.” The prosecutor alleges that latter two comments had sexual implications.
Rotiroti vehemently objected to the former teacher and football coach entering rehabilitation, saying the behavior was even more “egregiously inappropriate” because of his authoritative position in a school. The prosecutor said the case should end with a conviction, as to have a permanent record of the alleged behavior.
Archangelo, who resigned from BEHS in December 2015 after the alleged inappropriate messages were reported, is facing charges of risk of injury to a minor and second-degree harassment. He has pleaded not guilty.
While arguing in favor of the program, William Dow, Archangelo’s attorney, said his client has sought inpatient treatment and counseling to better himself. He also said he has apologized for his actions and is remorseful. Dow added that Archangelo, who has no criminal record, has turned in both his teaching and coaching license and has waived the right to seek employment in those fields.
During the hearing, Archangelo’s wife spoke and said her husband has addressed his substance abuse issues and has rebuilt his relationships, his career - having started his own construction business - and his trust with others.
Also during the hearing, letters written by the 14-year-old’s parents - parts of which were redacted to protect the girl’s identity - were read. In them, the girl’s mother said she believes Archangelo would have molested her daughter had he been given the chance. The woman also said her daughter wasn’t sleeping or eating and spent a lot of time in her room alone during the time of the allegations.
The mother said her daughter only sent Archangelo a photo because he had insisted she do so and she thought, “if I gave him what he wanted, he would go away.”
Judge Richard Dyer, in making his ruling, said he believes Archangelo has “undertaken significant efforts to rehabilitate” himself. However, he said the allegations are too serious for a first-time offender program.
Archangelo, who is free on $10,000 bond, is due back in court Sept. 15.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.