A 47-year-old charter school volunteer has been charged with sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy, the second time in a year the man has been accused of inappropriate contact with a boy, according to police and court records.
Mark A. Citro, who says he is a minister and who mentored the 14-year-old at the Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology, befriended the boy and let him stay over at his house so that the boy could walk to school, court records show. Investigators say Citro made the boy watch pornography, and fondled and masturbated in front of him.
When confronted by the boy's mother with accusations that he had sexually assaulted her son, he claimed he was an investigator who worked with the city and state police as well as the FBI to "catch" child predators and that the boy had walked in on him doing research, according to court documents. He displayed badges and handguns as proof.
Police executed a search-and-seizure warrant at Citro's home in the 2800 block of Louise Ave. and found a registered .38-caliber handgun, handcuffs and Mace, and several badges for security and special investigation companies. Police also seized computers, which will be analyzed.
According to a statement from City Schools spokeswoman Edie House-Foster, Citro was introduced to school officials by the student's mother, who said Citro was a mentor to her son. He passed a background check to volunteer at the school last month.
"At school, the student had a one-on-one aide and was under supervision by school personnel at all times" the statement says."Safety for our students must be a top priority for schools and families."
In an interview with police, Citro, who is married, said he was gay but that he had been "controlling his homosexual thoughts." He said the boy had looked up the pornographic websites.
Citro was being held without bond on charges of sex abuse of a minor, solicitation of a minor, assault and impersonating a police officer.
On Citro's Facebook page, he frequently posted updates about missing children and "friended" accounts for parents looking for lost children. He lists his employer as "God" and describes his occupation as an evangelist and youth minister.
Though he has no prior arrests, this week's allegations mark the second time this year that Citro has been accused of inappropriate contact with boys. In both cases, police say, the boys' mothers were legally blind.
Court records show that a different woman obtained a peace order requiring him to stay away from her and her son in April. In that case, the woman said Citro was "someone who befriended my son. Now he has overstepped his boundaries." There were no allegations at that time of sexual abuse.
In appealing that protective order, Citro provided private e-mails sent between him and the boy's parents in which they said he had grown too close to their son and was taking advantage of problems in the child's life. He denied the accusations — interspersing his remarks with Scripture, he threatened to revoke their marriage license and claimed to know a judge he could talk to if they sought intervention from the courts.
"The jig is up," he wrote. "God has his hands on [the boy], and God would not have brought he, with the spiritual gifts that he has, with me, with the spiritual gifts that I have, that compliment [sic] each others gifts, if He didn't want us together.
"You said my job was done with [the boy], but that is not your call, but God's."
He indicated he had been a mentor to the boy's father and wrote on in the margins of the e-mail: "This is the thanks I get."
An earlier version of this story stated that Citro mentored other students at the school, but school officials say is not the case.