December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain teacher pleads not guilty to texting charge

Sean Silvasy

Sean Silvasy

ELYRIA — Sean Silvasy, the Lorain math teacher accused of asking two teenage boys for nude photos of themselves, pleaded not guilty during a brief court appearance Thursday.

Silvasy, 43, faces felony and misdemeanor counts of attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for allegedly making the request in text messages sent in January.

Defense attorney Kenneth Lieux said his client intends to “vigorously fight” the allegations against him.

Lieux said police and prosecutors were combining harmless jokes with ill intent Silvasy didn’t have.

“It’s harmless, frat house, locker room banter common among males,” Lieux said.

The teens, who are 16 and 17, were working for Silvasy on rental properties he owns when they received the text messages requesting the nude photos, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. Silvasy didn’t deny sending the texts when confronted by investigators, deputies have said, but Lieux declined to discuss the specifics of what was in those texts.

Silvasy, who taught at the alternative Credit Recovery Academy, has been placed on paid leave by Lorain Schools pending the outcome of the criminal charges against him.

Lorain Superintendent Tom Tucker has said he was unaware that Silvasy, who was hired as a full-time teacher in August 2013, had faced similar allegations over improper text messages while working as a teacher for Firelands Schools.

Silvasy resigned from Firelands in November 2012 while he was on paid leave while he was being investigated for an October 2012 text message exchange with a student in which the pair accused each other of being homosexuals, including the use of slurs.

Firelands officials reported the interaction to the Ohio Department of Education, which initiated disciplinary action against Silvasy in December 2013. A hearing before the Ohio Board of Education, which could revoke Silvasy’s teaching license, is set for November.

Silvasy, who is free on bond, is due back in court later this month.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.