HOPEWELL, Pa. - A Hopewell Area School District teacher and coach accused of inappropriate behavior with a student turned himself in to police Wednesday.
Joeseph Rubino, a science teacher and baseball coach, was arraigned and released without bond. He's facing nine felony charges, including child pornography and unlawful contact with a minor.
Rubino, who has been under investigation by the state attorney general's officer for more than two months, is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a female student.
The girl, now 18, reported the alleged abuse to authorities in September. Investigators said Rubino allegedly began texting her when she was a sophomore.
According to police, Rubino, 37, said the flirtatious and sexual text messages were mutual.
Investigators said one of the text messages sent by Rubino said, "You need to be nice to me or you will be on your own in that class. You help me and I will help you."
The criminal complaint said Rubino asked for pictures of the girl's body parts and rewarded her with hall passes and gifts and offered her alcohol.
Rubino's attorney, Steve Valsamidis, said Rubino believes he is innocent.
"We're just getting started on this case. We haven't seen all the documents. My client maintains his innocence," Valsamidis said.
According to Valsamidis, Rubino has the full support of his family while he fights the charges.
"His family wanted to come out but we didn't think it was a good idea," Valsamidis said.
Hopewell Area School District officials put Rubino on unpaid leave in September. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31.
Previous Story: Hopewell teacher suspended amidst accusations of misconduct