Fairfield teacher denies he ever exposed himself to Warde student
Updated 11:45 am, Thursday, September 14, 2017
FAIRFIELD — A Fairfield Warde teacher, accused of exposing himself to a 15-year-old student, adamantly denied the allegations during an employment hearing Wednesday.
Jeff Iwanicki was arrested on Jan. 16 and charged with two counts each of impairing the morals of a minor, public indecency and breach of peace. He is free on a $50,000 bond as he awaits a jury trial. His next court date is Friday, Sept. 15.
“The complainant is untruthful,” Iwanicki said, under questioning by Board of Education attorney Stephen Sedor. “What causes her to be untruthful I’m not certain of, but the complainant is untruthful.
Iwanicki has been a graphics design teacher at the high school for five years. Prior to that, he taught at Fairfield Woods Middle School.
Friends, fellow teachers, and former students were in the audience for the hearing, held at the Board of Education offices. While this hearing was open to the public, hearings that include testimony from students are held in private. The hearing was continued to Thursday at Sedor’s office.
The student told police that Iwanicki exposed himself on Nov. 2, 2016 and again on Dec. 6, 2016. She reported both incidents following the December incident, and Iwanicki was immediately placed on administrative leave.
Asked by his attorney, Edward Gavin, if he ever exposed his penis, Iwanicki replied, “No, absolutely not.”
Iwanicki testified that on Dec. 6, the student was working on a logo for the school’s bowling team, but they “were not meeting the specific request” of the team’s coach, and were too detailed to reproduce clearly. “I was instructing her to make modifications to the design,” Iwanicki said.
He also said he looked at the availability and cost of the four types of shirts the student had suggested be used. While he was sitting at his desk, Iwanicki said, the student came to his desk and they discussed the shirts. Two were not in stock, and the other two were too expensive. “She kind of didn’t answer me,” Iwanicki said, adding, “She showed a kind of displeasured look.”
There was at least one other student in the classroom at the time.
Iwanicki said the student left when class ended, around 12:40 p.m. He stayed at school in his classroom until about 4 p.m., when David Ebling, the school’s headmaster, came in and asked him to come to the office. Iwanicki said he had “no idea” what Ebling wanted to speak to him about, and when he found out, his reaction was, “ ‘What?’, I was shocked, I could tell by his face and his tone, he wasn’t joking with me.”
He did not know who made the complaint until several days later, which is when he also learned about the allegation of a previous incident on Nov. 2.
Iwanicki said he has never been accused for acting inappropriately with any student. “I did not do this,” he said.
Sedor asked Iwanicki how he was able to remember the details of Nov. 2. Iwanicki said the day stood out because he went to dinner with a friend, had a discussion about his doctoral work, and watched game 7 of the World Series.
And on that day, Iwanicki said, the student was making a delivery for a graphics project, and was late for her Social Studied class. She texted him to ask if there was any point to going to that class, and he said she could come to his class. According to Iwanicki, he told her it was possible she might be punished for cutting Social Studies, but said he did not send her back to that class.
He said she was spoken to by himself and another administrator, and that she continued to come to his class during study halls and homeroom.
Sedor also introduced a Nov. 2 email Iwanicki sent to his professor for his doctoral program that he would be unable to attend class that night because he was not feeling well.
In her statement to police, the teen said on Nov. 2, Iwanicki spilled some cleaning solution on his pants. “I have a nervous habit of not looking people in the eye when I talk; I glanced down to my feet but something caught my eye, I glanced down and Mr. Iwanicki had his penis out of his pants. He didn’t do anything, didn’t move to cover up, no expression on his face.”
Of the Dec. 2 incident, she told police, “He looked down, then swiveled his chair to the right at an awkward angle, as he was doing so, I saw that his penis was again out of his pants.”
She told police Iwanicki had never sent her any sexually suggestive texts or emails.