Richard Hovan, a 33-year-old former prep school teacher, is accused of having sex with his 16-year-old student. The two were apparently discovered in 2011 by Hovan's now ex-fiancé, who snapped a photo of the two in flagrante delicto, an open bottle of lube on the table. Hovan testified in Manhattan Supreme Court this week that he couldn't have possibly opened the bottle of lube—but his cat might have. "My cats open the fridge, they open the cabinet, all of those things. I don't know," Hovan said.
Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain, the New York Daily News reports, tore into Hovan, who allegedly carried out an affair with a student during his time as a geometry teacher at Riverdale Country School:
"The lube is almost empty, right?" Strain said.
"Yes," Hovan said.
"The cats played with it? . . . So do they have opposable thumbs?" the ADA asked with sarcasm.
Hovan then boldly claimed that his pair of felines are very capable — and are "perhaps" the reason for the open container, even though there would have been a seal on the bottle.
This man is a graduate of MIT.
Hovan maintains that he and the student, whom he claims he was helping with her studies, were doing the New York Times crossword puzzle in his Chelsea apartment when his then-fiancé, Marina Bontkowski, burst in on them. Bontkowski has said she walked in on the girl "straddling" Hovan, and that the student fled by fire escape when they were discovered.
"If you're just sitting down on the couch doing crossword puzzles, why is [the victim] climbing down the fire escape? Does that make any sense?" prosecutor Strain asked in court Thursday.
The former teacher's lawyer, the New York Post reports, argued that Hovan and the student never had sex because she was unable to recall whether he was circumcised or not. "If they had a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, a loving relationship…she would know," Vinoo Varghese said.
The prosecution, meanwhile, has "thousands of texts with the girl, flirty emails and proof they had spent the night together."
Jury deliberations, on multiple charges of statutory rape, criminal sex acts, and child endangerment, begin today.