Fairfield teacher not guilty of exposing himself

BRIDGEPORT — A popular Fairfield high school teacher was found not guilty Monday, Feb. 4, of twice exposing himself to a female student.

More than a dozen supporters, many of them Fairfield teachers, cheered in the courtroom as the jury of five men and one woman in less than an hour of deliberations found Jeff Iwanicki not guilty of two counts of risk of injury to a child, public indecency and second-degree breach of peace.

“There were no facts to prove that he did it,” said juror Andrew Mickool, of Trumbull. “No evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and that’s just the way it was.”

The 46-year-old Iwanicki, who teaches graphic arts at Fairfield Warde High School, burst into tears when the verdict was announced.

“This is a very emotional time,” he said as he was embraced by his family and supporters.

“Mr. Iwanicki denied the allegations from day one,” said his lawyer, Edward Gavin. “He was dragged through the mud but kept his head high because he was confident the jury would arrive at the correct verdict.”

Iwanicki, who has taught at the high school seven years and before that at Fairfield Woods Middle School, was arrested after the then 15-year-old girl told school officials Iwanicki had twice exposed himself to her in his classroom in the high school.

The teen claims both incidents occurred in 2016.

Police said after the student complained, she sat down and wrote out three pages detailing what happened.

Police said the student was known to spend all her free time in school in Iwanicki's classroom working on graphics projects like T-shirts for the school's bowling team.

On Nov. 2, 2016, she had stayed after class to help clean up silk screening equipment with Iwanicki when he accidentally poured cleaning solution on his pants, she told police.

"He said something like, 'Aw look what I've done,' " she told police. "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." She said he had exposed himself.

On Dec. 6, 2016, she was discussing with Iwanicki the designs for some T-shirts when she said he exposed himself again.

Under cross examination by Gavin, the girl, now 17, admitted that she waited a month to complain about Iwanicki’s alleged actions because she initially thought it was a joke. Students who had been in the classroom during the Dec. 6 alleged incident testified they didn’t see Iwanicki expose himself.

Superior Court Judge William Holden threw out two charges, second-degree breach of peace and public indecency regarding the Nov. 2 alleged incident, following the conclusion of the state’s case.

Despite the arrest, Iwanicki kept his job.

After charges were filed and following several hearings that were well-attended by students and parents supporting Iwanicki, Frederick Ward III, appointed by the Fairfield Board of Education, found the police investigation of the alleged incidents had not been sufficient and the complainant not credible, and recommended Iwanicki, not be fired.