QUEENS (PIX11) — He’s an honorably discharged Marine Corps veteran with a beautiful wife and child, and a solid career. So why did a local teacher allegedly have an affair for months with a former student in her early teens? It’s the question that the many people who know popular middle school teacher Daniel Reilly are trying to figure out, now that he’s been arrested on sex charges in connection with the abuse that prosecutors accuse him of.
Reilly, 35, would not respond to questions from PIX11 News as he left Queens Criminal Court late Tuesday morning after his wife posted his $30,000 cash bail. It was the amount Judge Gia Morris felt was appropriate for the charges Reilly faced: four counts of second degree rape, two counts of second degree criminal sexual act, one count of endangering the welfare of a child and six counts of third degree sexual abuse.
After Reilly’s wife and mother-in-law drove him away on Tuesday from the Queens Corrections Facility behind the county courthouse, from which they’d posted bail, his attorney spoke. Eric Franz would not say how his client was feeling about the charges, or divulge anything Reilly had said regarding them. The only substantive thing Reilly’s lawyer would say about his client’s reaction was, “He’s feeling relieved to be getting home to his family.”
That home, an apartment on Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills, is where Reilly had sex with a 14-year-old girl multiple times over the last nine months, while he was fathering his and his wife’s new baby, according to the Queens district attorney.
Reilly, who teaches English at I.S. 237Q in Flushing, had met the girl years earlier when she was a student at a different school, an elementary school where he had taught, according to prosecutors. Last year, they say, Reilly texted the girl, offering to have sex with her. She responded positively, and the affair was only busted when the girl’s sister saw the texts from Reilly and spoke up.
The girl’s family went to the school’s administration to report the situation on Monday, and officers arrested Reilly Monday afternoon at the school.
Tuesday, parents and students were trying to process it all. Janetta Scott said that her son had had Reilly as his English teacher last year. “He was just so upset,” she told PIX11 News about her son’s reaction. “He said all the kids was talking about it. They put it up on YouTube. I thought [Reilly] was a really nice guy.”
Another parent, Fazeena Deen, said that her family had moved away last year from the neighborhood in which I.S. 237Q was the local school, but that it was such a good school she chose to keep her children enrolled there and to commute across Queens to school. For her to hear these allegations, , she said, “It is very much shocking!”
If Reilly is found guilty of the charges he faces, he could get sentenced to up to seven years in prison. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 6.