3 NJ Teachers Had Sex With Students, Prosecutor Says - New York News

3 NJ Teachers Had Sex With Students, Prosecutor Says

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Runnemede, NJ -

Three teachers and two administrators turned themselves into police Thursday, after a two-month investigation into what was happening at their high school.  Investigators say the teachers had sexual relationships with students, while the principal and vice principal covered it up.

Triton High School in Runnemede is now at the center of a criminal investigation, because of what went on behind its walls.  "It's obvious there existed a culture at Triton High School whereby teachers thought they could get away with improper relationships with their students," Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Beginning in November of last year, investigators say three male teachers each began intimate relationships with three female students, all of them seniors.  The contact included a trip down the shore for one couple, and plenty of texting.  "We uncovered evidence of exchanges of sexually explicit text messages during instructional periods," Faulk said.

The prosecutor won't say whether any of teachers got physical with the students on school grounds.  But he says the teachers did get cover from their principal, 55-year-old Catherine DePaul, and her vice principal, 39-year-old Jernee Kollock.  When a substitute teacher and another student warned them what was happening, the prosecutor says they "conducted a half-hearted and inadequate inquiry aimed primarily at protecting the teachers and covering up their relationships with the students."

28-year-old Nick Martinelli, a phys-ed teacher, is only facing an official misconduct charge, because investigators say the student he became involved with was 18 years old.  But the other two teachers, Jeff Logrando and Dan Michielli, are both facing charges for criminal sexual  misconduct, because the prosecutor says the girls they became involved with were only 17.

"If it was my daughter, it would be ugly, let's put it that way," Richard Liberatore, a parent, told Fox 29. "For a vice principal and a principal to cover it up, they shouldn't even be here working," another parent, Robert Cannon, added.

The teachers and both administrators have all been suspended from the school.

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