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High school teacher acquitted of alleged sex crimes

Sept. 21, 2012 By Christian Murray

A high school teacher was acquitted by a Queens jury Wednesday after he was accused of molesting a female student at Aviation High.

George Zola, who had taught shop at the Long Island City-based high school for 20 years, had been charged with sexually abusing a female student between December 2008 and January 2009.

“Free at last, free at last,” Zola, 58, of Valley Stream, reportedly said, after being exonerated of all charges.

Zola was accused of inappropriately touching a student’s breasts and body parts. He faced up to 4 years in prison, after being charged with first-degree attempted sexual abuse, third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

“We just couldn’t believe her story completely,” said one juror, according to reports. “It’s sad.”

The student, now 20, said that she often came to school drunk and high on drugs.

The case came to light when the student informed a school guidance counselor about the alleged abuse in June 2010.

Many local children attend Aviation High, which is near the south-west border of Sunnyside.

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