A Manhasset man whose teaching certification was revoked in 2006 after he pleaded guilty to spanking students at a school in Queens where he was dean has been charged with allegedly lying about his criminal history on an application he filed to work within the Uniondale School District, Nassau County prosecutors said.
William Rini, 59, was arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead and faces up to four years in prison if convicted on a felony first-degree charge of offering a false instrument, prosecutors said.
Upon attending a job fair in July for substitute teaching positions with Uniondale, Rini allegedly submitted an application indicating he had never been convicted of a crime.
But Rini pleaded guilty in 2004 to a charge of endangering the welfare of a child during his time as a dean at Intermediate School 145 in Queens, and the state Education Department later revoked his teaching certification two years later.
“This defendant is charged with seeking employment as a substitute teacher with a school district but lying about his criminal history. It’s critical that applicants to jobs in schools answer questions honestly and undergo background checks so that we can keep our kids safe from predators,” said Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas in a statement. “Thanks to the sharp eyes of the Uniondale Union Free School District and its cooperation with our prosecutors, this defendant never made it near a classroom and will be held accountable for his actions.”
Rini was released on his own recognizance and was due back in court on September 22.
Rini’s attorney, Victor Knapp of Kew Gardens, said he is still gathering the documents of the case but added “I’m not so sure [the case] rises to that level.”
“He was a very dedicated teacher, very intelligent, very well-educated,” he said. “Teaching was his whole life, basically.”