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Hornell superintendent, principal indicted after abuse investigation: 10 victims identified in court docs

A Steuben County Grand Jury has indicted the superintendent of schools and a high school principal in the Hornell City School District.

Superintendent Jeremy Palotti was indicted on two misdemeanor official misconduct charges, as well as one count of failing to report child abuse.

His handling of complaints about another administrator during the 2021-22 academic year were cause for his indictment. Palotti is accused of not handling parents complaints of improper searches of a female student by another administrator. He was also accused of using taxpayer money by engaging the school’s attorney in personal legal matters.

According to documents, Palotti was aware of suspected child abuse in October 2021 and failed to report it.

Assistant Principal Eli Marcus was indicted on 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He’s accused of acting in a way that was likely to be injurious to the physical, mental, or moral welfare of 10 different children under 17.

The incidents are said to have taken place over the last two years. He’s currently on leave.

The Hornell Board of Education issued the following statement:

“We are both surprised and shocked that criminal charges have been filed against the District’s Superintendent of Schools and our Assistant High School Principal. From what we understand about the surrounding circumstances, these charges are not justified, and we urge everyone to remember that anyone charged with a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven otherwise. We have, of course, reported these charges to the Superintendent of the BOCES Supervisory District and to the State Education Department. For the time being, Mr. Marcus will continue to be on administrative leave, and the Superintendent will continue performing his regular duties. Out of respect for the criminal process, and in the interest of the privacy of all concerned, we will have no further comment at this time.”