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Suspended Hopewell teacher faces new charges of sex offenses with student

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Suspended Hopewell Area High School teacher Joseph A. Rubino, 37, charged with sexting and fondling a student, faces new charges Wednesday, March 27, 2013, that he committed the same offenses against another student.

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By Bill Vidonic
Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 2:03 p.m.
 

A suspended Hopewell Area High School teacher accused of sexting and fondling a student faces similar charges tied to another student.

The state attorney general's office on Wednesday charged Joseph A. Rubino, 37, of Hopewell with five felonies and one misdemeanor, including indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor and criminal solicitation to commit sexual abuse of children.

Rubino, who remained free Wednesday on $10,000 unsecured bond, could not be reached. Superintendent Charles Reina did not return a phone message.

When asked whether there were any other possible victims, attorney general spokeswoman Lauren Bozart said in an email, “It is an active and ongoing investigation.” Attorney General Kathleen Kane said anyone with information should contact Special Agent Lee Yingling at 724-433-5316. Yingling would not comment.

Rubino's attorney, Steven Valsamidis, said he does not know whether anyone else is making accusations against his client, whom he's instructed not to discuss the case.

“We don't know what information the commonwealth possesses,” Valsamidis said. “(Rubino) is denying any criminal wrongdoing, so it's a guessing game on our part as to who is coming forward and saying what.”

In the latest charges, the attorney general's office accuses Rubino of sending sexually graphic text messages to a student from her junior year through her senior year. She is now 20.

A criminal complaint said Rubino promised her tickets to a Steelers game if she would send him explicit pictures of herself and that he bought her a $50 gift certificate for Victoria's Secret for her 18th birthday. The complaint also said Rubino fondled the student in a classroom.

After graduating, she texted Rubino and asked him for a letter of recommendation, according to the complaint. Rubino replied that he would if she had sex with him. The girl's father saw the text and confronted Rubino, who said he would stop, the complaint read.

Rubino admitted in a Sept. 17 interview with Hopewell police that he exchanged sexual communications with two female students, according to the complaint.

Police in January charged Rubino with nine felonies and one misdemeanor, including child pornography possession and indecent assault, because a student said he sexted her and fondled her from her sophomore through senior years. Rubino awaits trial on those charges.

The district suspended Rubino without pay in September.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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