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Former teacher serving sentence for abusing student takes plea deal in new case

Craig Debiase has been sentenced to another year in prison after taking a plea deal in a case involving 1997 sexual abuse of an underage student.

DENVER — A former high school teacher and coach who is currently serving a 12 year prison sentence for abusing a student has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child in another case.

Craig Debiase, 57, was sentenced in the latest case on Oct. 16. According to a news release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, other counts he previously faced were dismissed as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

A judge sentenced Debiase to 10 years in prison following this plea deal. It will run consecutively to the sentence he is currently serving.

The victim in the latest case came forward in November 2019 after she saw news reports of Debiase being sentenced for similar crimes against another victim at Bishop Machebeuf High School, where Debiase used to teach. 

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This victim began a sexual relationship with Debiase in 1997, prosecutors said.

The first accusations against Debiase surfaced in 2005. He took a plea deal and served less than two years in prison before he was sentenced for additional crimes in 2019.

Credit: Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office
Craig Debiase

“This defendant not only used his position as a school teacher and coach, but he also used religion as a way to gain access to his victims,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Danielle Jaramillo said in a news release. “Over a 20-year span, this man made a career of preying on the vulnerable. The number of victims we have identified so far is astounding, and the deeper we dig the more we find. Thankfully, he is no longer in a position to continue hurting children.”

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