by: Adam Brandolph, TribLIVE Updated:
PITTSBURGH - A polite conversation in the sauna of a McCandless gym turned scandalous when a Pittsburgh Public Schools principal asked a stranger if he wanted to perform a sex act with him, the man told an Allegheny County jury on Monday.
Edwin Harper, 63, of Bellevue said Alfonzo DeIuliis was pleasant when they initially spoke in the sauna, but when Harper hit the showers, he said DeIuliis followed and stared at him from a neighboring stall.
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Harper went back to the sauna, where DeIuliis followed again, asked whether it was OK to turn the lights off and then asked him to perform a sex act with him.
“I tried to just ignore him. I wasn't going to let him intimidate me,” Harper said.
DeIuliis, 37, of Hampton is charged with harassment, open lewdness, indecent exposure, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor in three alleged incidents between February and August 2013. His trial on those charges began on Monday before Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel and is expected to last a few days.
A 17-year-old told police DeIuliis entered the sauna on Aug. 12, unfolded his towel, tapped him on the knee to get his attention and asked whether he could perform a sex act on the teen. A third man, a college student, claims he saw DeIuliis performing a lewd act in the shower in July.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky called the alleged acts “disturbing.”
“This case is about the systematic propositioning of lewd behavior,” Chernosky said. “This case is about what you can and can't do in a public space.”
Defense lawyer Phil DiLucente said he plans to prove his client wasn't even at the gym for at least two of the incidents.
“I'm going to be going heavy and hard at the alleged victims and police officers,” he said. “I will prove that Alfonzo DeIuliis is innocent. He's innocent of each and every charge that's been waged against him.”
Pittsburgh Public Schools placed DeIuliis, the principal at Brookline PreK-8, on unpaid leave because of his arrest on Aug. 27. DeIuliis, who made $101,499 a year, posted bond and was released from jail the next day.