PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Plum High School teacher accused of having sex with a student had his bond revoked during a hearing Wednesday morning
Joseph Ruggieri, 40, was back in court this morning on charges of intimidating a witness.
Ruggieri was told not to contact the alleged victim, but officials say he once again violated that court order.
According to prosecutors, he is accused of contacting the 18-year-old victim twice via email accounts he set up on his school-issued laptop.
Defense attorney Randall Ricciuti claims the emails are not an attempt to intimidate the victim.
“There appears to be contact and the allegation is that there was contact made through a computer he had. As I stated in court, it doesn’t sound like there was anything intimidating or threatening. What I’d like to know is how he got that computer because it apparently was school property,” Ricciuti said.
Excerpts from the alleged emails were read in court this morning. Some quotes from those emails included:
“Stop running away, you can’t go across the country. It won’t be enough to escape what you want.”
“You will feel cold and lonely without me.”
“Friends and family are keeping you from your one true love.”
Ruggieri appeared in court this morning via closed-circuit television. Having his bond revoked assures that he will be in jail for at least the next six months.
Ruggieri was initially arrested in February on institutional sexual assault and corruption of a minor charges.
According to the criminal complaint, a female student told police Ruggieri, a teacher, invited her to his home, where they had sex on several occasions.
Ruggieri had already been charged with one count of witness intimidation in April as well.
One thing some are wondering is how Ruggieri still had his Plum High School laptop, after the courts ordered him to stay off the Internet.
As far as having his bond revoked, it probably doesn’t make much difference, because he hasn’t been able to come up with the $75,000 he needed to get out of jail.