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JAN 27 - FEB 03, 2015

Whether Innocent or Guilty, Sal Anello faces Shocking Sex Crime Charge

By Frank Parlato

January 27, 2015

Mug shots of Anello taken after his arrest.

Salvatore A. Anello, arrested and accused last week of "forcible touching," is either a dirty old man who should be permanently removed as an art teacher at Newfane Middle and High Schools, and, for that matter, as a teacher anywhere - or he is a victim of a hideous, wrongful accusation that may ruin his career and destroy his life.

A charge of any type of sexual misconduct - a category of crime that allows the accuser to hide under the cloak of anonymity and whose word alone is often sufficient to level charges - is enough to bring shame and embarrassment and disaster to the accused even if he or she is never convicted. And a conviction is usually a career-ender.

Anello, 42, of Niagara Falls, was arrested by Niagara County Sheriff Deputies last Thursday and charged with the A-misdemeanor crime of forcible touching - which is punishable by up to one year in jail.

Anello was taken to the Niagara County Jail, arraigned in Newfane Court where he pleaded "not guilty" and released after posting $1,000 bail. He is the nephew of former Mayor Vince Anello.

Just so it is clear - forcible touching is a sex crime. The New York Penal Code: S 130.52 defines "forcible touching":

"A person is guilty of forcible touching when such person intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person; or for the purpose of gratifying the actor's sexual desire. For the purposes of this section, forcible touching includes squeezing, grabbing or pinching."

In addition to possible jail time, registration as a sex offender is also possible in cases where the victim is less than 18 years old or where the defendant has a prior conviction for a sex offense.

Salvatore Anello from a Youtube video.

Historically, this charge arises from incidents in crowded bars involving intoxicated people or on crowded subways or buses, and are frequently very defensible. After all, there is rarely any forensic evidence, or evidence of any sort, beyond the testimony of the complaining witness.

Oftentimes, plea negotiations involving first-time offenders can result in convictions of lesser offenses like Harassment in the Second Degree or Disorderly Conduct with behavioral counseling.

As of press time, few details on the Anello case have been released. The Niagara County Sheriff's office says the investigation is ongoing which suggests that further charges may be forthcoming.

The complaint was made in the Town of Newfane, but not by the Newfane School District, the Reporter has learned, and the alleged victim is a female student at Newfane High School. The complaint does not name the alleged victim, and Anello has not been officially told who made the complaint against him.

A source familiar with the case said that since the alleged victim is a student, efforts are being made to shield her identity to prevent her from being "outed" at school and potentially subjected to harassment.

While this protects the victim, look at it from the defendants point of view: If Anello is innocent - and these allegations are a fabrication - or misunderstanding - such as that Anello may have been innocently friendly without intending sexual misconduct - Anello must sit home and wonder who is his accuser - until February 17 - when he is due back in court and when, presumably, his attorney can get information about the allegations and who made them.

If you were innocent and it happened to you, would you be tormented with puzzlement over being charged with a highly publicized crime - that derails your career - and yet not know who your accuser is, or exactly what you are alleged to have done - or would you just take it in stride?

As of press time, Anello has not been told by police what he has done or to whom he did it to. He only knows the charge -- forcible touching.

Of course, if he is guilty - and police feel confident that he is - then he likely knows why he is being charged and why!

An Anello family member told the Reporter however that Sal Anello has no idea who he supposedly "forcibly touched" and said he denies having done this to anybody.

Anello has taught in the Newfane School District for nearly a decade.

He was put on leave by the District following his arrest. In addition to being a teacher, Anello operates a website offering his services as a children's entertainer, including magic shows and deejay services. It is safe to say that business has been put on hold.

Newfane School Superintendent Dr. Michael Wendt says he learned of the investigation from the sheriff's office and the school is cooperating, but Wendt told local media that though "we may wish to comment, we are simply unable to do so at this time."

Wendt sent a letter to parents in the district which said in part, "Your child's safety continues to be our number one priority. Although this letter does not offer the details involved with this arrest, we are hopeful that you now have greater knowledge about what we know and what we can share regarding this incident. It is also important for you to be aware that we are acting on this notice and fully cooperating with authorities in this investigation."

A law enforcement source familiar with the case said the Sheriff's department is investigating whether there may another alleged victim in this case.

This is the second arrest of a Newfane teacher in recent months.

Kyle Fiegel, 27, of Akron, the former JV football coach and a substitute teacher in the district, was arrested in November and charged with two counts of statutory rape. Police allege Fiegal had sexual contact with a child under 15 years old on several occasions in Royalton. The child was not a student in the school district. Fiegel was removed as a substitute and barred from school property.

He is awaiting trial in Niagara County Court on felony charges


Salvatore Anello, a self portrait.





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Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina