Fort Myers man accused of sexual assault in Michigan once taught at Canterbury School

Maryann Batlle Fort Myers News-PressPublished 1:12 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020In the January 2015 issue of the Canterb

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In the January 2015 issue of the Canterbury Communique, an online newsletter from the Canterbury School in Fort Myers, then-teacher Joseph Comperchio described his job as "an art and a profession that is unlike any other."

"The rewards of teaching, and there are many, are reaped in the awareness that teachers have of knowing they passed on the best of themselves," Comperchio states in the private school's newsletter.

More than five years later, Comperchio, 66, is accused of sexually abusing two of his former students at a Catholic school in Michigan during the 1970s.

Comperchio, a Fort Myers resident, was arrested Monday in Lee County and is facing six counts of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Two adults reported that Comperchio sexually assaulted them between 1974 and 1977 when they were between the ages of 9 and 11, according to a news release Monday from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.

At the time, Comperchio, who also has gone by Josef, was a drama and music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson, Michigan, the news release states. 

In response to inquiries about Comperchio, the Canterbury School offered an emailed statement that failed to mention him by name or provide his dates of employment.

"There is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We are taking these allegations very seriously. We have zero-tolerance for even the perception of wrong-doing and will vigorously conduct our own thorough internal investigation and will fully cooperate with authorities," according to an excerpt from the Canterbury School statement.

Previous coverage: Fort Myers man charged with 1970s sex assault of 2 children

The Michigan Attorney General's Office confirmed via email that Comperchio's employment at the Canterbury School ended in June.

In the 2015 newsletter, Comperchio states he was in his third year of teaching at the Canterbury School, which he chose because of the students' dedication and the strong drama program.

"I liked the size of the school and felt that Canterbury would be a place where strong connections with students and teachers could be forged," he states in the newsletter. "I was not wrong."

Lansing State Journal reporter Kara Berg contributed to this report. 

In other news: Police are looking for suspects who robbed Jimmy John's in Fort Myers

More: Fort Myers man faces two felony charges in grand theft case out of Sarasota
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