MCCANDLESS, Pa. - A Pittsburgh Public Schools principal has been suspended with pay after police
accused him of exposing himself to a 17-year-old boy in a health club sauna and asking if he could perform a sex act on the youth.
The teenage boy told police on Monday that he was in the sauna of the LA Fitness on Duncan Avenue Aug. 12 when a man, later identified as Alfonzo DeIuliis, came into the sauna and removed his towel.
The boy said the man began to touch himself inappropriately, then touched the boy on the leg and asked if he could perform oral sex on him, according to the criminal complaint.
The boy went home and told his mother, who called LA Fitness and reported the incident. At the time, management was unable to identify the man involved.
The boy again saw DeIuliis in the locker room on Monday evening, and went into the sauna. When DeIuliis walked in, the boy reported him to gym management and they called police. DeIuliis told police he didn't know or recognize the boy.
Investigators said another male reported a similar incident in February. The male said he followed DeIuliis out of the gym and took down his license plate number.
DeIuliis is the principal at Brookline PreK-8, said James Ecker, his attorney.
"In every case, things look extremely bad in the beginning for the defendant," Ecker said. "Hopefully, things will look better by the end. We're looking forward to the trial."
DeIuliis, 37, of Allison Park, was charged with unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, indecent assault, harassment, indecent exposure and open lewdness.
Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said the alleged incident did not involve a Pittsburgh Public Schools student and took place outside the City of Pittsburgh.
“As a result of the investigation, the principal was placed on leave of absence yesterday and will remain on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Mr. DeIuliis began with the District as a teacher Oct. 8, 2001. He was appointed the principal of Pittsburgh Brookline this July. Until a new acting principal is named, assistant principal Mr. May will serve as interim leadership,” Pugh said in a statement.
Pugh said DeIuliis was sent home Tuesday at 11 a.m. when the district was informed a warrant was issued for his arrest.
“If these charges are accurate, it’s appalling. Very concerned,” Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Dr. Linda Lane said. “It was shocking. I couldn’t have been more surprised.”
Lane said DeIuliis passed criminal-history and child-abuse clearances before he was hired.
“In this particular case, the clearance was updated last spring,” Lane said.
According to Lane, there were never any reports of inappropriate behavior at the school.
Lane said Thursday that she’s reaching out to families at Brookline PreK-8. One of the ways she’s reaching out is a meeting with parents in the coming weeks.
“This kind of thing is deeply troubling. We understand how parents feel. This is a tough situation for families and the school,” Lane said.
After hearing about the allegations, Joe Scheibel picked up his 7-year-old son from school early on Wednesday. He said he thinks parents should have been notified sooner.
“I just don’t think Pittsburgh Public Schools should have someone like that working, especially someone with that type of mentality,” Scheibel said.
DeIuliis was released from jail Wednesday night after posting bond.
LA Fitness has not commented on the charges, but said DeIuliis’ membership has been terminated.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.