A top deputy to city schools Chancellor Richard Carranza arranged to have sex with a 14-year-old boy over a dating app — booking a hotel suite for the pair without realizing he was talking to an undercover cop, the feds said Friday.
Department of Education deputy chief of staff David Hay began sending explicit messages to “Colton” — who he believed to be a Wisconsin teenager — in July 2019.
But “Colton” was a cover for a City of Neenah police investigator, who was working on a months-long sting, the US Attorney for Milwaukee, Matthew Krueger, said Friday.
Additionally, prosecutors revealed that a search of Hay’s cell phone following his arrest turned up sexually explicit images of a former student at Tomah High School, where he was between 2011-2014.
Prosecutors used the evidence to hit Hay with a new charge of possessing child pornography on Friday.
The former educator was previously faced with one count of using a computer to attempt to persuade, induce or entice a minor with sex.
Cops nabbed Hay, 39, at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport on Sunday after he booked a hotel room with a hot tub in rural Wisconsin town to meet up with “Colton” for sex, according to the complaint.
Krueger said the Hay case is part of a nationwide initiative from the Department of Justice to work with local cops combating child sexual exploitation.
City officials admitted this week that Hay was never fully vetted by the city’s Department of Investigation and blamed the failure on a massive backlog of 6,000 background checks that have plagued the office for years.
The DOE conducted two checks of Hay in 2016 and 2018. However, the DOE check is limited to just fingerprinting and criminal database searches and did not turn up any red flags, schools spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said.
DOI’s background check involves a more thorough scrubbing of a person’s financial history and background.
That lapse may have allowed holes in Hay’s resume to remain concealed.
The major newspaper in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, uncovered that Hays resigned from a principal’s position in 2011. Officials there had discovered he improperly used a district credit card for personal charges before he stepped down, though the misuse of government resources was not cited as the reason for his departure.
On Friday, Richard Carranza said the charges against his former deputy chief of staff were “absolutely unacceptable.”
“In my office, the chancellor’s office, I hold everyone, including myself, to a high standard. We serve the children of New York City. That’s why I immediately fired him” he told reporters at an unrelated press conference.
While he maintained Hay had the right to presumption of innocence, he described the charges as “very serious.”
“There’s no room in my office or in this school system for anyone accused of that type of crime,” Carranza said.
If convicted of enticement, he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years behind bars with a possible life sentence. He also faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of possessing child porn.
Before his sacking, Hay made $168,000 annually as a top aide to Carranza at the DOE.
He was fired immediately after his arrest, a DOE spokesperson said Monday. He was first hired in 2016 to work as a special assistant for then-chancellor Carmen Fariña.."