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Former SWR math teacher pleads guilty to rape charge involving student

The former Shoreham-Wading River math teacher accused of having a sexual-relationship with a 15-year-old student pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of third-degree rape.

Veronica Pezdan has been in custody since her arraignment in May, after she was indicted on a 12-count indictment that included a charge of promoting a sexual performance by a child.

Ms. Pezdan, who was 28 years old at the time of her arrest, is accused of having sexual intercourse with the male student on March 24 and April 8, according to her grand jury indictment.

Ms. Pezdan was arrested by Suffolk County Police Department Seventh Precinct detectives shortly before noon April 19 on William Floyd Parkway in Shoreham after she received a letter from the district informing her that her employment was being terminated, according to a police statement attached to the indictment.

She told police that “something happened outside of school” and that she’d “rather not say what happened with [victim’s name],” according to the statement, which was unsigned.

“I told my fiancé and he is trying not to hate me,” Ms. Pezdan allegedly told detectives. “He doesn’t know the whole story.” She then asked for an attorney.

Details in the final count of the indictment, a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child, allege the teacher’s conduct with the student began in late February or early March and continued until April 16.

In a statement the afternoon of her arrest, SWR Superintendent Gerard Poole said the teacher will no longer be employed by the district, “effective immediately.”

“The Administration and Board of Education are deeply concerned about these allegations,” Mr. Poole said. “Please be assured that the District does not tolerate and condemns such behaviors. The District is fully cooperating with authorities.”

The termination followed a tip from a staff member about an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student, which first triggered an internal investigation, Mr. Poole had said.

Ms. Pezdan began at SWR in 2018 after having graduated St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue in 2017. She is a graduate of Sachem North High School.

A person over 21 years of age in New York State can be charged with third-degree rape after they are accused of having sexual intercourse with a person who is less than 17 years of age. It carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Ms. Pezdan will be sentenced before Suffolk County Judge Chris Anne Kelley on Feb. 8, 2022.