A New Jersey high school teacher who faced a criminal charge for having a sexual relationship with one of his students had the charge dropped early in February. The judge ruled that the relationship, while perhaps unacceptable socially, was not illegal, because the student was 18 years old at the time.
The teacher was arrested in April, after police received a complaint that he and the female student had sexual relations in February 2013. The defendant was charged with one count of official misconduct. Since the student was 18, a charge of statutory rape may not have been possible.
It also means that there is no way for the official misconduct charge can go forward either, according to the Superior Court judge presiding over the case. He ruled on Feb. 4 that the charge would be dismissed, because the woman was a legal adult when she and the teacher had sex.
The county prosecutor expressed frustration with the ruling. He vowed to appeal, and swore that the relationship was against the law “as determined by our Legislature.” His specific argument against the judge’s ruling to dismiss is not given by The Star-Ledger.
The defendant was a physical education teacher and coached girls’ soccer when he was arrested. It is not known whether he would go back to work, now that the charge against him has been dismissed. Even when a sex crimes case goes in the defendant’s favor, his or her career may be affected by the negative attention from the experience.
Source: The Star-Ledger, “Judge dismisses indictment against Piscataway teacher charged with having sexual relations with student,” Sue Epstein, Feb. 4, 2014