'Teacher of the year' in NJ denies sex charge

AP News
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Posted: Sep 12, 2012 10:46 AM
'Teacher of the year' in NJ denies sex charge

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey attorney for a county teacher of the year has entered a not guilty plea on her behalf to charges she had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student in an honors class she taught.

Erica DePalo faces aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and child endangerment charges. She did not speak during court hearing Wednesday in Newark, but her lawyer entered the plea on her behalf.

Prosecutors say the 33-year-old Montclair resident had a relationship with a boy in her honors English class. They say the affair started in June and ended recently.

DePalo has been indefinitely suspended from her job teaching English at West Orange High School. She was the 2011 teacher of the year in Essex County.