Accused perv teacher blames open lube bottle on his cats BY Shayna Jacobs NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Thursday, February 26, 2015, 11:08 PM Updated: Thursday, February 26, 2015, 11:08 PM Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News Richard Hovan, a former math teacher at the exclusive Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, appears Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court His cats do all sorts of tricks — including coming to his defense at trial. An accused perv prep school teacher claimed Thursday that the used bottle of lubricant found in his Chelsea apartment as his ex-fiancée caught him with his 16-year-old student could have been the handiwork of his frisky pets. Richard Hovan made the bizarre claim in Manhattan Supreme Court during cross-examination as Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain confronted him with mountains of evidence — including records of thousands of texts with the girl, flirty emails and proof they had spent the night together. “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. “My cats open the fridge, they open the cabinet, all of those things. I don’t know,” the 33-year-old MIT grad and former math teacher at Riverdale Country School said. Strain said Hovan has been lying about “helping” the troubled girl through tough times when he had her at his apartment and spent the night with her in a Brooklyn Holiday Inn, which he paid for in cash. My cats open the fridge, they open the cabinet, all of those things. I don’t know. Hovan testified that he did crossword puzzles while she slept during the one-on-one sleepovers and that no sexual encounters took place. He is charged with criminal sex act, statutory rape and endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to four years in prison on the top count. The jury is expected to begin deliberations Friday. In closing arguments Thursday, Strain ripped the wild cat claim, saying it is one of many coverup stories to hide what he did to the vulnerable girl. “He should really put those cats on YouTube. There’s that one cat that plays that song. These cats — they open drawers, cabinets, boxes and safety seals!” Strain said. “If nothing was happening, if nothing was going on, if they were just sitting on the couch doing the New York Times crossword, why is she climbing down a fire escape to get away?” Strain said. The prosecutor also shot down his main defense claim — the fact that the alleged victim said she did not know if Hovan was circumcised. Strain said it is evidence of the teen’s inexperience. But Hovan’s lawyer, Vinoo Varghese, argued the teen not recalling whether Hovan was circumcised shows that no matter what happened, sex wasn’t involved. Hovan was all about doing “whatever he can to ensure his students succeed in the classroom and outside,” Varghese argued.