Former teacher at school in Willoughby Hills charged with sexually assaulting two students

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WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio-- A former teacher at Cornerstone Christian Academy is under investigation for sexual assault.

Anthony Polizzi, 41, of North Royalton, is charged with 46 counts of sexual battery, 34 counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of attempted sexual battery. The Lake County Sheriff's Office arrested him on Jan. 5.

According to the police report, Polizzi taught history at Cornerstone Christian Academy, located on SOM Center Road in Willoughby Hills, before he was terminated.

“We have cooperated fully with the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Cornerstone Christian Academy Head of School Sandi Ortiz. “Cornerstone is deeply troubled by these allegations. Our prayers are with all of the people seeking justice in this.”

The Willoughby Hills Police Department said it started an investigation after a former student reported about 10 incidents that happened during the 2009-2010 school year. Some of the alleged crimes occured on school property, the police report said.

Though the first victim came forward in 2012, Willoughby Hills Police Chief Christopher Collins said the case wasn’t passed on to the prosecutor’s office until 2017 due, in part, to personnel changes in the detective bureau. New detectives reopened the case last February.

While investigating, authorities learned of a second victim. The students were 17 and 18 at the time.

Polizzi appeared in Lake County Common Pleas Court Tuesday morning for a pretrial hearing.

Polizzi and his attorney declined to comment after the hearing.

Police said they believe it's possible there are additional victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the Willoughby Hills Detective Bureau at 440-942-9111.

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