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Aviation High Teacher Charged with Sexual Abuse

Photo: QueensPost

Jan. 4, 2011 Staff Report

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced yesterday that a 58-year-old teacher, who has taught at Aviation High School in the Long Island City section of Queens for more than 20 years, has been charged with sexually abusing a female student at the school between December 2008 and January 2009.

District Attorney Brown said, “The charges are disturbing on so many levels. As a teacher and an adult, the defendant was in a position of power and had no business engaging in inappropriate contact with one of his students. Such conduct cannot go unpunished.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as George Zola, 58, of Valley Stream, Long Island. Zola, who is employed as a shop teacher at Aviation Career & Technical High School, located at 45-30 36th Street in Long Island City, Queens, is presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of first-degree attempted sexual abuse, third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

If convicted, Zola, who has taught at the school for 22 years and is presently assigned to administrative duties, faces up to four years in prison.

District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal charges, Zola sexually abused one of his female students on multiple occasions by inappropriately touching her breasts, buttocks and vagina over and under her clothing, rubbing his body against hers or taking her hand and forcing her to touch him. On at least one occasion, Zola allegedly told the student, who was sixteen-years old at the time, “This is how it’s gonna be.” The incidents allegedly occurred inside the school between December 1, 2008, and January 22, 2009,

The case came to light when the student informed a school guidance counselor about the alleged abuse in June 2010.

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Anti-Aviation Crusader

Aviation High School. You will never find a more wretched hive of scumbags and villainy. Too bad the Al Qaeda didn’t destroy it as well on 9-11. They run it to brainwash kids into turning into Republican assholes who will become either grease monkeys or soldiers. If you’ve ever seen the film “Full Metal Jacket” that training camp or even the war in Vietnam would be better places to be than that piece of shit school. Fuck them all!

Dan Abbate

Wow ! Such vile comments. Aviation High School has produced a long line of productive citizens in our cherished society. Students of a very diverse background, and economic levels. Aviation HS has set the foundation I based my work ethics on and its teachings have sustained my family and I through new hire to retirement.


Mr. Zolla acquitted. No doubt the was lying. Why is she not tried and imprisoned? Why is she in a college? SHouldn’t that college kick her out? She’s going to either give hed for grades and then accuse them of sexual harassment or do the latter when a grade is not to her liking. When I attended AHS, there were probably 5 girls in the entire school. If you’ve ever seen those old cartoons when the males all turn into drooling wolves, you understand the picture. Unfortunately in the education field, you are GUILTY until proven innocent. No doubt he will never teach again anywhere, and the Board of Education will have to pay him his entire salary plus benefits for the rest of his life. Well deserved, but unfortunately this comes from the NYC taxpayer. Then again, it is but a drop in the ocean in a city that wanted to spend $75 billion to host the Olympics in 2004 or so. Hope he finds another trade to spend his time and to top off his Aviation salary. As for that q’unt: She’ll either be a Wall Street manager, a politician, or someone in power who sucked her way to the top. Another day in the United States. –

Marin Class of 97

You know what sucks Melken is that unfortunately girls can manipulate and so can teachers so that’s why this is so hard to swallow. You may have been in the same class but the truth of the matter is only God knows. Unfortunately as girls we can give off the wrong signs and you just never know what Mr. Zola could have been going thru at the time which makes this such a horrible story. I just hope both parties can be honest and come forth with the truth. As someone wrote before as an adult Mr. Zola could have reported something to have prevented this whole mess. I remember girls at the time I was there who would throw themselves at some teachers n would do really disrespectful things, and if the teacher felt cool he/she would joke around about it but would put the student in their place. Again I say this whole thing sucks!

Marin Class of 97

I was in Mr Zola’s class and he never disrespected any of the girls there. He was very respectful and always warned the boys about their behavior with the girls in class. He didn’t give us special treatment and always was there to give us all advise. He spoke the truth with respect and told us how to act in the industry. I don’t belive this to be true but one thing i can say is may God have mercy on whoever is lying.


I know both the students that accused mr. O and mr. Zola as that was my graduating class.. The 2 cases are not related and the accusation on mr. O was really bogus.. But I definitely know that this case is real, the girl was in my class and I knew something had been going on since we worked in the same group. So no this is not bullshit and I hope justice is served

class of 01

bottom line is this and read carefully, teacher/professor/adult should not be in any students private parts, I defend the teacher because some students might use their looks to manipulate the teacher and the situation into their own favor. Fact of the matter is that you’re an ADULT/TEACHER society grants you a certain level of trust and power in the classroom, if you couldnt handle yourself you should of stopped teaching or stopped the situation from escalating. ie a cop is caught selling contraband and is now facing time, his excuse is that he needed money to feed his family and maybe is true, but it doesnt make it right. once again life is about choices and he had a choice when this happened and he knew the consequences but the temptation beat him to the punch, it sucks because his career is pretty much done and no judge no girl no wife no time will ever give that back. If anything people should learn from this, think about your decisions before you do anything. thanks

Former Alum

Aviation high school was a great school when i attended. I was a former student of Mr.zola’s. I still remember the lectures and stories about life mr zola said to my class. he was a man of intellect and ability. I really hope their is no truth to this story but even if it is true or not. Aviation high school lost a great teacher.

I dont know if the story is true or not and am not taking any sides. none the less hearing stories of my former teachers getting accused of such acts is not only sad but disappointing. headlines such as these ruin the reputation of such a wonderful school.


Well, im a freshman at Aviation hs. Mr. Zola isnt a shop teacher, there anymore. But, what you guys are saying, from what you have experienced, can very likely be true. We should just wait and see whats happening. D.Nice> these girls have to start acting mature. Some of these girls at AV have just lost it!


But, what you guys are saying, from what you have experienced, can very likely be true. We should just wait and see whats happening.


Well i go to Aviation H.S. Im a freshman, this guy, Mr.Zola isnt a shop teacher there anymore. This guy is a freaking pervert that couldnt get any girls when he was younger, if he did that to that girl.

ENone class '08

wow, cant believe this nonsense, i attended aviation also, Zola was a cool teacher, and i don’t think his hands could’ve fit down that girls pants, i mean if you knew him, you’d know he has some gorilla hands. I highly doubt he did this.


I agree with Knickfan92, Classof08, and D-Nice. I also attended Aviation High School. These types of allegations against teachers are from 1980’s. We have so many invented stories but never the scene truth. The girls in that school need to grow up and not play with teacher’s life.

D-Nice class of 97


Why such negativity? You sound very immature in your last post. Knickfan92 Classof08 and I have attended Aviation HS and speak from our experience with him as a teacher. Yes he was strict and held high standards because of the nature of the line of work. These teachers are preparing students for a career in aircraft maintenance. These students may someday be working on the very airplane you are flying on. Do you want someone that cuts corners or slacks making repairs on the plane you are about to board? I didn’t like the military type attitude back then when I was attending AV but I understand the reason for it.

I am sure the same discussions were being had about Mr. Zanetis while he was being accused, but I cannot find any discussions now that he has been acquitted. His life is ruined, I can bet that nothing happened to the girl that accused him and the whole story has just been brushed under the carpet.

Why is it that the girl was not held accountable for her false accusations? Where is the retribution for falsely accused teachers? Does it only come in the form of money?

Sunnyside Post

Atom, your opinion adds a lot to this conversation. However, let’s just dial back the hostility. Thanks


Dear ignorant fucko’s…

Calling someone a liar without any facts of the case makes you sound like a misogynistic piece of shit (anyone who accuses someone of sexual assault is automatically a liar?) You know exactly zero facts about this case. A grand jury thinks there’s enough evidence to take it to the next step in the process. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. One thing is for sure though…you sound like an asshole.

Class of 08'

It is quite sad that our alma mater’s reputation is being tarnished in such a vicious way. I am not familiar with the truth regarding Z, but after seeing and evaluating O’s situation, I can say with much confidence that we are currently watching a repeat of DoE and AV HS politicking gone wrong. Z is no fool; he is as strict and sharp as educators come, which makes him a revenge target for not only student slackers (i.e. most likely, the student in question), but for school “reformers” seeking to numb down and economically choke an already weak system.

I venture to say that this dubious situation created a dream opportunity for those seeking to get rid a high cost employee. Considering Z’s income, I strongly believe that this fiasco was an excuse to fire him and thus save a few bucks on the the system’s payroll.


Innocent until proven guilty, right? Imagine he did not commit this offense. His life is ruined.
Imagine it’s true, the girl will suffer trauma from what happened then and the aftermath now.
Not a pretty picture

43rd 43rd

“the defendant was in a position of power ”
District Attorney Brown obviously has no clue what being a teacher is. They’re not the ones in “power”.

There are no consequences to the students for anything they do. This student has accused the teacher – and if it is found out she is lying what will happen to her? Nothing. Meanwhile that teacher’s career is over regardless if he’s innocent.

Of course, if she’s telling the truth – then why did she put up with that for over two years?!?

Truth will out.



Oh I agree with the 2-year old comment, definitely. When I say beat your kids, people misunderstand my expression. I don’t mean paralyze them, but a spanking, in reality, never hurt anyone. Time outs are a waste of time and as a matter of fact my 3 year old thinks they are a joke. He puts himself on time outs when he knows he’s being bad and then continues being bad.

You are absolutely right about people jumping to conclusions and immediately believing a student over a 25 year teacher.

Has the world gone mad??

This is one of the reasons why I no longer live in the USA.
Mr. Zola was a fair teacher. Never discriminating or showing favoritism to black, white, yellow, brown, green, blue male female etc. etc.
He had 2 of my family members as students prior to me, he knew it and did not separate me from anyone else. He failed me the first quarter just like all the other rejects who screwed around in his class.

I can go on and on about how good and how fair he was, I just find it hard to believe this whole scenario. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn’t. Whatever the outcome, whatever the truth he was a great teacher who actually taught and I stand by my guns.


To D-Nice,

I wish everyone would consider your opinion. I too went to aviation high school (graduated 2 years before you). I agree with every word.

we shouldn’t jump to conclusions and ruin the lives of these teachers before knowing the facts.

Oh and I agree to an extent about the beat your kids thing. Definitely beat them if they are teenagers though. Not the little cute 2 year olds.

D-Nice class of '97

Do not be ignorant. I went to Aviation and had MR. Zola for shop. There are many things you need to take into account about Aviation HS. It is almost an all boys school due to the fact that it is a line of work that not many females take interest in. Females that attend this school know that they are outnumbered 100 to 1. Growing up in NY, traveling to a predominantly all boys school you know you have to be a little tough. This story to me sounds a little fishy. How were this students grades leading up to this accusation? Is there some sort of trend forming being that this is the third accusation by a female student against an Aviation teacher in x amount of years? The first was Mr. Omelchenko (spelling) for “threatening a student with a knife”. Really? Mr. O was a fit individual who often was seen eating fruit which he cleaned with a knife. I had Mr. O for 3 years of Phys Ed. was he a little nutty, yeah, but you’d have to be to be working in a school like that with all those students. Did I ever consider him dangerous, no! Now if the student was in conversation with the accused and the knife was used as an extension of his hand to point this does not constitute a threat. Mr. Zenetis another teacher at Aviation HS was accused, the student retracted her statement and the case was thrown out of court. This man’s life was ruined!! His wife left him and took there 2 children, he lost his job and god only knows what else.

I see a bit of a trend forming here. Maybe cameras need to be implemented in the classrooms. Then parents can see there little angels in action. I wasn’t the most well behaved kid growing up and I do not prefer to think about all the times I misbehaved in class. MAybe the threat of a camera would have kept me better focused on the classes lessons.

In closing I urge all parents reading this to please BEAT YOUR CHILDREN! Today’s kids have become spoiled, whiny attention seakers that need a good ass whipping to set them straight. No longer are the days of consequences for ones actions. WAKE UP PEOPLE YOU ARE RUINING THE SOCIETY.


woah, im in Aviation high school, and i never even knew that would of happened, im shocked, wow, but i probly think its true


I think this girl is lying why did she wait until he was sent to another school to teach to report him. even if she felt guilt and stuff why all of a sudden she decides to tell idk i thinki have to wait to hear what happens next

Clay Boggess

It is very sad to read about stories like this where someone who is supposed to be a role model to young people as a teacher instead thinks only of himself and causes potentially long-lasting emotional damage to someone else. I only wonder why these allegations were not brought up sooner. Perhaps she was dealing with a host of issues like embarrassment, guilt and the fact that she was reporting an influential authority figure. What a shame!


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