Former NYC student wore wire to catch alleged predator teacher

New York Post

October 3, 2020

By Melissa Klein

A Manhattan man wore a wire to nab the teacher he claims sexually abused him decades earlier — but even that failed to keep the alleged predator out of the classroom.

Nicholaos Papadopoulos, 53, says when he learned that Lawrence Svrcek taught at Francis Lewis High School in Queens in 2002, he felt he had to step forward to “potentially save someone.”

He said 20 years earlier, Svrcek, a gym teacher, sexually abused him and other boys at the Jamaica Day School run by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Queens. At the time, he says he and another boy told school officials, who booted Svrcek as a Boy Scout leader but allowed him to keep teaching. Svrcek also taught briefly at St. John’s University in 1999 and at John Bowne HS in Flushing.

Papadopoulos said when he reported Svrcek’s conduct to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the city’s public schools in 2002, he was met with disbelief until he agreed to wear a wire.

He said he was petrified, but confronted Svrcek at Francis Lewis HS where, he says, the teacher “acknowledged everything.” Three others boys also came forward to investigators.

“Because too much time has passed, Lawrence Svrcek cannot be prosecuted; nevertheless, his inexcusable acts of sexual abuse toward these four male students were criminal and horribly wrong,” according to Special Investigator Richard Condon’s 2002 report, recommending that he be fired. He resigned in 2003, according to the Department of Education.

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