HIV teacher who had sex with 2nd-grade pupils gets 10 years

New York Newsday

April 7, 2003, 8:14 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A former second-grade schoolteacher who is HIV positive was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting several of his pupils, boys ages 7 to 9.

Milton McFarlane, 39, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., pleaded guilty Jan. 29 to all 28 counts against him, including rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, child endangerment and possession of child pornography.

One count charged him with demonstrating "a depraved indifference to human life" by engaging in unprotected sex with his victims despite his HIV status, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said.

McFarlane, a seven-year veteran, taught at Public School 78, in the Bronx, and admitted he assaulted six boys there from 1998 to 2001.

State Supreme Court Justice John Barone said he agreed to a 10-year sentence for McFarlane only because he wanted to spare the victims the trauma of having to testify. Prosecutors had asked for a 20-year sentence.

McFarlane also admitted he had been part of a child pornography club that exchanged illegal photographs on the Internet. Investigators found hundreds of such photographs on his computer hard drive.

After McFarlane's May 2001 arrest, Board of Education officials discovered that some of the allegations, from as early as 1998, had never been reported to the New York Police Department, as required.

That discovery prompted former schools Chancellor Harold Levy to fire the Board of Education investigator who conducted the inquiry into the allegations, in which McFarlane was accused of unzipping a student's pants and pulling down his own pants in front of another student.