By Mark Hallum
A former substitute special education teacher from Bayside was charged Monday with an attempted criminal sexual act after being arrested in an Internet sting, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
The suspect, Christopher Tselios, 28, allegedly arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl for oral sex in exchange for $500 cash, but the victim turned out to be an undercover law enforcement officer, prosecutors said.
Tselios was a substitute teacher with the city Department of Education until 2015 and claimed to be planning a permanent relocation to South Korea to teach kindergarten. The Queens DA said the South Korean Consulate was notified to prevent the suspect from traveling to their country without knowledge of his legal standing in the United States .
He was also charged with attempting to pass along indecent material to a minor, to patronize a prostitute and to endanger the welfare of a child, the DA said. Tselios faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
“This case underscores the crucial importance of Internet surveillance initiative by law enforcement to protect children from sexual predators,” DA Richard Brown said. “This case, and the many others my office has prosecuted, should serve as a warning to parents that they must closely monitor their children’s Internet activities. Despite the numerous publicized arrests for exactly this type of alleged behavior, sexual predators continue to relentlessly scour the Internet for victims. Do not let your child become one of them.”
An NYPD vice detective posing as an underage teenage girl responded to a Craigslist post looking for “fun with a teen or younger” July 26, the DA’s office said. The suspect responded and explicitly asked for the girls age, the DA said. As the conversation progressed the suspect was sent photos of a female undercover officer, according to prosecutors.
Tselios attempted to meet with whom he believed to be a young girl July 29 at a Forest Hills eatery, the DA said. The rendezvous was set for 11 p.m. and the undercover female officer who was depicted in the photos sent to Tselios was waiting for the suspect to arrive. Police arrested the defendant as he and the officer posing as a minor reached his parked car and recovered $500 from his possession.
The Queens Criminal Court ordered Tselios to surrender his passport and He was arraigned with bail set at $50,000. The next court date for the defendant is scheduled for Aug. 12.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall