The more allegations that surface against Schenectady school facilities director Steven Raucci, the more justified District Attorney Robert Carney’s extreme effort to hold Raucci in jail before trial has become.
It’s not that Raucci seems like a huge flight risk, it’s that his well-documented penchant for “getting even” poses a serious safety concern for anyone who’s complained about him since he was first arrested Feb. 20 — or anyone he might suspect of doing so. To hear Carney tell it, one list is quite long, the other might be even longer.
And there’s no question that, given Raucci’s reputation — which many school employees were aware of years before his arrest — the people who’ve come forward are nervous about what might happen to them if he were let loose. Given what’s been revealed by prosecutors thus far, and what Raucci has been charged with, holding him in jail seems a wise course. If he’s truly being wronged, as his attorney suggests, he can sue after he’s acquitted.
Something else that’s gotten harder to believe as this story unfolds is that Schenectady school district officials had little idea what was going on with Raucci, or knew but did nothing. (Rather, they just watched as he padded his paycheck with unconscionable amounts of overtime.)
Raucci’s repeated, severe harassment of underling Ronald Kriss — affirmed by the state Workers’ Compensation Board in 2006 and now the subject of an $8 million civil suit against the district — may or may not have been the first incident involving a school employee, but it should have put district officials on high alert. Yet, when a case involving Raucci and a different employee was called to Superintendent Eric Ely’s attention subsequently, all the superintendent could do was advise the employee to contact police. Under the circumstances, such indifference was inexcusable.