South Jersey Sex Scandal Shocker [AUDIO]
Three teachers and two administrators at Triton High School in Runnemede are facing criminal charges, and have been suspended, after the teachers allegedly engaged in sexual activity with three female students.
Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk says the teachers facing charges are: Jeff Logandro, 32, charged with official misconduct, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child, Nick Martinelli, 28, accused of official misconduct, and Dan Michelli, 27, charged with official misconduct, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact.
The school's principal, Catherine DePaul, and vice principal Jernee Kollock are charged with official misconduct for allegedly failing to report the relationships when they learned about them.
DOCUMENT: Read the full charges (PDF)
He says, "These charges do not represent a failure of the system. The school district has in place all of the necessary policies and specific regulations prohibiting all of the conduct that has been charged against these teachers. These charges constitute individual and personal moral, ethical and legal failures on the part of the charged teachers and administrators at Triton High School. It's obvious that there existed a culture at Triton High School, whereby teachers thought they could get away with improper relationships with their students, and administrators turned a blind eye to evidence of these relationships."
Faulk adds the investigation began during the summer when "we were informed of a problem."
"A substitute teacher initially reported it to the principal - she indicated in a statement she should have done more to protect the students and not as much to protect the teachers."
When asked exactly what the teachers did, Faulk said, "We're not allowed to get into the specific evidence, but under New Jersey law, there cannot be what is commonly referred to as a rape charge for a student who consents over the age of sixteen…So because of the ages of these students, certain charges could not be preferred, even though these teachers were in an authority position over the students."
He adds, "A trip to the shore was made with one teacher, and several students - one of whom was a victim - to Ocean City, New Jersey…All educators need to remember there has to be a professional teacher- student relationship and there has to be a separation between the teachers and the students…I remember many years ago being trained as an army officer …and it was called friendly but not familiar - and that has to be the mantra of teachers. They can certainly socialize with their students in a school setting, but outside of a school setting they are not permitted to do so - that's what the regulations of the schools say."
Official misconduct is a second degree crime which carries a maximum of 10 years, as does endangering the welfare of a child and sexual assault. The criminal sexual contact is a 4th degree crime - with a maximum of 18 months.
"Anyone with additional information should contact the Camden County Prosecutors office."