Jamaica Teacher Accused Of Sexual Abuse

A 69-year-old Jamaica choir director was charged with sexually abusing his 11-year-old student on several occasions between 2013 and 2014 in her own home, the Queens District Attorney said.

The defendant was identified as Rafael Diaz, of 89th Avenue in Jamaica, who has been in the community for some time now, working as a choir director for Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary Church, located on 88-19 Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica. In addition to his work in the church, Diaz would conduct private lessons to young prospects.

The victim was a member of Presentation’s choir. Officials allege Diaz committed the crimes during private lessons conducted with the victim between Jan. 1, 2013 and June 15, 2014. The victim, who is now 15 year old, allegedly told her father about the incidents and he contacted Diaz on the phone. Diaz is said to have admitted to touching the girl inappropriately on “five or six” occasions. He said that he stopped the advancements on the young girl once the lessons stopped.

“Instead of being a role model to all of his students, the defendant is accused of taking advantage of his position as a church choir director to gain access to a young child for his own sexual gratification,” Queens DA Richard Brown said. “These are deeply disturbing allegations that, if proven true, are deserving of severe punishment.”

Diaz was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Jan. 15 on a charge of second-degree sexual conduct against a child. Judge Michael Katz set bail at $35,000, which Diaz paid on Monday. He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 20 and, if convicted, faces up to seven years in prison.

-Trone Dowd

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