HUDSON FALLS - A 15-year-old soon-to-be sophomore at Hudson Falls High School on Thursday spoke publicly for the first time about inappropriate contact he had with a former teaching assistant.
David "D.J." Fernandez Jr. said he wanted to talk publicly about the relationship in part to set an example for teens at the Christian Brothers Academy who may have had similar experiences and who may be reluctant to come forward.
A recent sex scandal involving a former teacher at the Catholic school in Colonie has attracted national media exposure.
In June, CBA fired English teacher Sandra Beth Geisel, 42, after she was allegedly caught with a 17-year-old in a parked car.
She was arrested earlier this month and charged with rape for allegedly having sex with a different, underage student. (The age of consent in New York is 17.)
D.J. and his mother, Kristine, sat down with The Post-Star at their home after holding a news conference in Albany and before a scheduled interview for the Fox-syndicated "A Current Affair."
"It's all right for me to come out," he said. "It's worth it in the end. Then you know that you prevented it from happening to someone else."
D.J., a stocky, dark-haired teen, nervously bit his nails and tapped his feet as he spoke. He described his life since "one or two" sexual encounters with Karlie M. Hall, 31, of South Glens Falls, as "very stressful."
Hall resigned from the school in May amid an investigation by school officials into allegations of misconduct. She was arrested the following day.
Hall has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges alleging she exposed her breast to D.J., then 14, while giving him a ride home from school; wrote him lewd e-mails on school computers; and bought him cigarettes.
After flashing him, D.J. said Hall had threatened to spread rumors about him at school if he didn't keep it secret.
D.J., who is related to Hall through marriage, said he was also prompted to speak out after encountering Hall last week at the Kmart in Queensbury. He alleged she violated an order or protection by pointing at him and trying to intimidate him while she was talking on a pay phone.
A woman who answered the phone at Hall's mother's house said Hall did not want to comment for this story.
D.J.'s attorney, John Aretakis, who has represented many victims of clergy abuse in the region, organized Thursday's news conference.
Aretakis has filed a notice of claim against the Hudson Falls Central School District, alleging the district was negligent in hiring Hall. The family is seeking $500,000.
While peers have made a couple of wisecracks about the incident, D.J. said his friends have been overwhelmingly supportive. And despite starting therapy, he said he harbors no fears about returning to school next month.
Hall was arrested again in June and charged with felony grand larceny and forgery for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a previous employer, The Quarters at Lake George.
Kristine Fernandez said she is trying to protect her son.
"He's 15 years old," she said. "He shouldn't be having these experiences with a 31-year-old. He's a boy. He's not emotionally developed. Boys have feelings just as girls do."