Geneva principal charged with endangering the welfare of a child, placed on leave


GENEVA, N.Y. (WROC) — Geneva Middle School Principal John DeFazio is facing criminal charges after an alleged “inappropriate” encounter with a child in the school.

According to Geneva police, DeFazio had “an inappropriate encounter with a child less than seventeen years of age” at the middle school on or around October 5.

DeFazio was charged with misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child Thursday.

According to the Geneva City School District, DeFazio was put on leave Friday, when police told the district about the allegations.

“We take the type of allegations at issue very seriously and cooperated with the police throughout the process,” the district said in a statement issued Thursday. “We are committed to the safety of our students and expect all staff to adhere to the highest ethical practices and conduct.”

Tricia Budgar, the director of athletics and strategic initiatives, has been named acting principal of the middle school. She was previously the West Street School principal and Ninth Grade Academy principal.

“The charges are merely accusations at this point and Mr. DeFazio, like all citizens, is entitled to a presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty,” the district said. “We intend to take steps necessary to respect his rights while, at the same time, taking all prudent steps to ensure the welfare and safety of our students.”

Police are asking anyone else who may have had inappropriate contact with DeFazio to contact Detective Matthew Colton at 315-828-6779 or

For help talking to your child about the situation, police ask you to contact the Child Advocacy Center of the Finger Lakes at 585-394-2573. You can also visit their website for resources.

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