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Newfane Middle School art teacher charged with forcible touching

NEWFANE – A Newfane art teacher was charged with a misdemeanor sexual offense Thursday by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

Salvatore A. Anello, 42, of Niagara Falls, who has taught in the district for nearly a decade, was charged with forcible touching.

The Sheriff’s Office said an investigation was launched following a complaint, which then led to Anello’s arrest at 10 a.m. Thursday. He was arraigned in Newfane Town Court and bail was set at $1,000 cash or $2,000 bond. He is due back on court on Feb. 17.

There is no indication whether a student complaint led to the investigation and the Sheriff’s Office said no further information will be released while the investigation is ongoing.

According to public records, Anello, who teaches at the middle school, has been with Newfane since 2005.

Superintendent Michael S. Wendt sent a letter to parents home with students on Thursday.

In the letter, Wendt does not confirm the arrest of Anello but does inform parents that a Newfane School District staff member was arrested and the sheriff is investigating.

“Your child’s safety continues to be our number one priority,” Wendt said in the letter. “It is also important for you to be aware that we are acting on this notice and fully cooperating with authorities in this investigation.”

Wendt also noted the anxiety that this type of news can cause in the district and said school officials will be also working hard to respect and protect the privacy of district students.

This is not the first time this type of scandal has hit the district. In November, a substitute teacher and coach, Kyle T. Fiegel, 27, of Akron, was charged with statutory rape. The incident did not involve any students, but rather stemmed from charges that he had sexual relations with a person younger that 15 on multiple occasions in the Town of Royalton.

Fiegel was removed as a substitute and barred from school property. He is awaiting trial in Niagara County Court on felony charges.