ROOTSTOWN, Ohio – A Rootstown High School math teacher is facing charges for inappropriately touching students at school.
Christopher Dibattista, 40, of Garrettsville, was charged Thursday with three misdemeanor counts of sexual imposition and one misdemeanor count of assault for incidents involving three students.
Court records state the teacher improperly touched three 17-year-old students inside the high school this school year.
The documents state DiBattista punched one teen in the shoulder sometime between late August and mid-March, and he laid his head in the lap of the same student on March 5. The documents state the teacher also touched the thigh of another student and laid next to a third student.
The Portage County Sheriff’s Office said DiBattista is also accused of making inappropriate comments to students.
Rootstown Local School District Superintendent Andrew Hawkins said DiBattista was placed on paid leave and asked to stay away from school property on March 19, when the district first learned of allegations.
“The safety of all students remains the school district’s first priority” the district said in a statement. “The school district immediately removed this teacher from the care, custody, and control of students the day we first learned of some of the allegations. The school district continues to cooperate with law enforcement during the investigation.”
Hawkins said DiBattista was previously placed on paid leave for three days in 2012 for “inappropriate behavior.”
DiBattista is scheduled to be arraigned in Portage County Common Pleas Court on May 16.