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June 19, 2019

Ex-Queens math teacher sentenced to six months for sharing nude pictures, videos with 15-year-old student

May 30, 2018
Michael Cognato, 35, a former math teacher at I.S. 93, will spend six months in prison after exchanging dude pictures and videos with a 15-year-old student through Facebook messaging and Skype. (Google Maps)

A disgraced Queens middle school math teacher who shared sexually explicit pictures with a student will spend six months behind bars, authorities said Tuesday.

Michael Cognato, 35, will also be on probation for 10 years for getting pervy with a pupil.

The former math teacher sent sexually explicit videos and pictures to a 15-year-old girl and convinced her to send the same to him over a three month period in 2017, according to Queens prosecutors.

The one-time instructor at I.S. 93 in Ridgewood pleaded guilty in March to charges including attempted use of a child in a sexual performance.

Cognato taught the teen while she was an eighth grader and they stayed in touch when she went to high school. Police said Cognato tutored the girl and communicated with her through Facebook messaging and Skype.

The graphic image swaps soon followed, police said.

Cognato resigned from the Department of Education and surrendered his state teaching license after pleading guilty.

The Bethpage resident will have to register as a sex offender and will remain on the state registry for the rest of his life.

Cognato has already served about four months of his sentence. Earlier in the case, he was remanded for being in contact with the victim after his arrest.

“There was no allegation Mr. Cognato ever reached out to the complainant,” according to his attorney, Scott Gross. “In fact, the evidence suggested she reached out to him on numerous occasions.”

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Cognato’s actions were troublesome.

“He preyed on this young student whom he had once been entrusted to teach. This case should serve as a clear and unmistakable warning that parents must be mindful of the people their children communicate with online,” Brown said.

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