Ridgewood school teacher in sex video scandal busted for contacting teen girl he formerly taught

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A teacher formerly assigned to a Ridgewood public school who was arrested last October for allegedly exchanging x-rated images with one of his former students is in trouble with the law again.

Michael Cognato, 35, a Bethpage, NY resident who formerly taught at I.S. 93, was arrested on Feb. 1 on a criminal contempt charge. According to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Cognato allegedly contacted the teenage girl with whom he previously exchanged explicit images and videos, thus violating a protection order.

Cognato was booked on Oct. 6, 2017 in a 33-count indictment for using a child under 17 for a sexual performance, promoting a sexual performance by a minor, possession of sexual performance by a child and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

Prosecutors said Cognato had been in his eighth-grade class and continued to remain in regular contact following her graduation from I.S 93. He regularly communicated with her through Facebook and Skype and served as a math tutor.

On or about July 20, 2017, law enforcement sources said, Cognato allegedly shared several pictures of himself shirtless through Snapchat. He would later send pictures of himself naked and engaged the girl in sexually explicit conversations.

Between Aug. 15 and Sept. 29, authorities said, Cognato allegedly sent the girl 15 videos of himself performing various sexual acts; the girl also sent him explicit videos that she had made at his request.

Cognato was charged after the girl’s mother learned of the indecent behavior and contacted police. He was subsequently removed from teaching duties and reassigned by the Department of Education to a district office.

Criminal charges resulted from an investigation that the NYPD Special Victims Squad conducted.

Court records indicated that Cognato was arraigned on Feb. 2 and ordered held on $3,000 bail, with an additional court appearance pending.