- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2020

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut school board member who was accused of sexually assaulting a teen is resisting calls to resign from his post.

Stratford Board of Education Member Robert DeLorenzo took a plea deal in the case and was convicted of first-degree reckless endangerment, The Connecticut Post reported.

Democratic Town Committee Chair Stephanie Phillips and others have called on DeLorenzo, a Democrat, to resign from the board.

But DeLorenzo says he has no plans to step down and insists the efforts to get him to resign are politically motivated.

“I said 10 times I am not stepping down,” he told the newspaper.

Police said DeLorenzo assaulted a 13-year-old girl, who told authorities that DeLorenzo told her he would kill her if she told anyone about it.

DeLorenzo denies ever assaulting the girl.

He was initially charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, but accepted an Alford plea to lesser charges. Under an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges there is enough evidence in the case to convict and agrees to be found guilty but does not acknowledge committing a crime.

DeLorenzo’s lawyer said when he accepted the plea that DeLorenzo wanted to spare his family from the pain of a trial and remained “steadfast that a jury would exonerate him.”

School Board Chairwoman Allison DelBene said that the board has no power to remove him from his post.

“Our entire Board of Education understands the strong feelings of the many in our school community but our hands our tied,” she said. “The way the law is written in Connecticut, there is no provision for removing or recalling any public official, and as a board, we must obey the law.”

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