A former Evans High School band teacher who admitted to attempting to have a sexual relationship with a student was sentenced Tuesday, June 21, to five years in prison.
Anthony J. Alberti, 30, pleaded guilty in Columbia County Superior Court to criminal attempt to commit a felony, in his case that crime was sexual assault by person with supervisory authority.
After a lengthy and emotional hearing for Alberti and his family and the family of the then 18-year-old victim, Chief Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. imposed the prison term followed by five years of probation.
Alberti was astonished by the sentence. When handcuffed by the sheriff officers Tuesday afternoon, Alberti pleaded with the judge, “I can’t. I can’t,” he said as he was forced out of the courtroom.
The night of April 3, 2020, the parents of the student found her highly intoxicated, and as they tried to figured out what had happened, they said Alberti was calling her. They also discovered sexually explicit communications between the teacher and student, they told the judge Tuesday.
Alberti robbed her daughter of her joy and innocence, the victim’s mother told the judge. Her plans for college were dropped, the scholarship she was awarded was turned down. The career she had wanted for years was put aside as she chose a different path, at least for now, her mother said.
Defense attorney Mark Shaefer told the judge Alberti was taking responsibility for what happened. Alberti immediately resigned from Evans High School and gave up his teaching certificate, Shaefer said. While there was no denying the attempted relationship was illegal, it was not a matter of force or manipulation, he said.
Alberti lost two more jobs as the news and the indictment was returned over a year later, Shaefer said. He has lost nearly everything, but he still had a wife and children to support. His wife, brother and father-in-law spoke on his behalf, of the good he has done and can do still. He asked for a probation sentence, Shaefer said.