Ovid, NY – A school resource officer in Seneca County was arrested on Thursday night for using her position to have an inappropriate relationship with an 8th Grade student.
Interlaken Police Officer Elisia Panipinto was assigned to serve as a school resource officer in the South Seneca Central School District from which she’d graduated a couple years before, The Post-Standard reported.
The investigation into the 20-year-old Officer Panipinto began after the Interlaken Police Department and the school district both filed a complaint with the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said that Officer Panipinto used her authority as a police officer to spend time with the student in the school and developed a “physical, romantic relationship” with them.
There is no evidence that the officer and the student engaged in sexual contact or that there are any other victims, deputies told The Post-Standard.
Officer Panipinto was arrested on May 16 and charged with official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child. Both charges are misdemeanors.
Bail was set at $250 cash or $500 bond at the officer’s arraignment, according to The Post-Standard.
Jail records showed that Officer Panipinto has been released from the Seneca County Correctional Facility.
South Seneca Superintendent Stephen J. Parker Zielinski expressed shock upon learning of the accusations against Officer Panipinto, an alumnus of the school district, The Post-Standard reported.
And the superintendent thanked the members of the community who had shared their concerns with school officials.
“The witnesses helped to make sure we could catch the situation early and to prevent it from developing further,” Zielinski said.
He also said that the charges were hitting close to home and had been hard on the South Seneca school community, The Post-Standard reported.
“For our school, it is especially difficult because every person involved is someone we care about," Zielinski said. "We are committed to acting in our students’ best interests to keep them safe, which is a prime reason why we seek the use of school resource officers in the first place.”