The dean of students at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax County resigned this week after his name and photo were discovered on sexually suggestive Web sites devoted to leather, motorcycles and homosexuality.
Albert Santora, 53, stepped down after the principal confronted him with his participation in activities such as the Mid-Atlantic Leather Contest and the DC Boys of Leather, according to the Diocese of Arlington.
"Even though it's not anything illegal, it would compromise his ability to carry out his work," diocesan spokeswoman Linda Shovlain said. "He and the principal have nothing but the good of the students at heart."
Santora came to Paul VI in 1998 from a Catholic school in Richmond and taught religion until his appointment as dean in 2001.
Shovlain described him as "very upset" and said he had not known that his photographs were on the Web. A phone number in his name in Alexandria had been disconnected, and he could not be reached for comment.
School officials said the Web sites were discovered by a Paul VI alumnus who was doing research for a college assignment on vegetarians.
"In the course of his research, a Web site came up of people who promote wearing leather," Shovlain said. "One of the people depicted was Mr. Santora."
On that site, Santora was pictured, fully clothed, emceeing the Mid-Atlantic Leather Contest, involving many participants who were scantily clad and posing suggestively. His role as the contest's founder is referred to on several sites for a gay audience.
Paul VI was previously in the news in 2000 when a 27-year-old Iranian immigrant posed as a student and claimed to be Steven Spielberg's teenage nephew.
He pleaded guilty to fraud in 2000 after school administrators discovered he was lying.
School officials met with students yesterday to allay concerns and answer questions about Santora's resignation. Principal Philip V. Robey told students they should pray for Santora, and in a letter to parents, Robey said Santora had done a "fine job" as a faculty member and dean.
"It's purely out-of-school stuff that wound up on a Web site," Robey said. "It's very unfortunate for him. . . . I don't know how he could continue in his job and not have kids harass him. It's hard to do in his type of job."
Jacqueline Wakefield, 18, who graduated from Paul VI last year, said Santora had a reputation for being strict. "He thought we got away with too much," she said, adding that he once scolded her for wearing a skirt too short.
Some students said the resignation was unnecessary. "He's a very fair man," sophomore Nicholas Schierer said. "He treated us nicely. He treated us justly. He treated us like he was there to serve us."
Schierer said he has heard about the Web sites but is not curious about them. "That's his private life," he said.