NEW YORK - A New York high school gym teacher has been charged with raping a student after an alleged year-long relationship was uncovered, reports CBS New York.
According to the station, 39-year-old Joy Morsi left her arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on Tuesday after being formally charged with rape, criminal sexual conduct, and endangering the welfare of a child for her alleged acts with a 16-year-old male student. Prosecutors said the affair began in June of last year.
The age of consent in New York State is 17.
"This case is particularly disturbing because the defendant is a teacher and schools should be safe havens for children," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "Instead, this defendant is accused of sexually preying upon one of her students during rendezvous all over the school."
The Long Island, N.Y., resident has taught physical education at Grover Cleveland High School in Queens since 1999. The city Department of Education has suspended her without pay, according to defense attorney Virginia Lopreto.
CBS New York reports Morsi was charged in a 41-count indictment that prosecutors said involved "multiple incidents" with the student over a seven week period last year in the basement and other locations at the school.
She also allegedly sent emails to the student asking if he was a virgin, and allegedly sent raunchy photos, according to the station.
Prosecutors said Morsi got angry with the student when she found out he was taking a date to the prom.
Released on $25,000 bond, Morsi was flanked by her bondsman and her attorney at the hearing Tuesday. The station reports Morsi's husband was also at court, though neither he nor his wife made a statement to the press.
The alleged relationship with the student, said to be on the wrestling team, was reported to authorities by another student.
Some students told CBS New York they liked the teacher.
"She was a cool teacher, she was, you know, I never saw that coming," said Jamal Velovic. "I just saw her as a regular gym teacher."
"I'm in shock," said Mia Torres, "because I never expected that from any teacher."
In addition to the charges, the judge ordered Morsi to stay away from the teen in person, email, text, or any other form of conduct.