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New Jersey teacher charged with sexual assault

After spending approximately one month in the Essex County Correctional Facility, a Maplewood high school teacher was released on Oct. 19. She posted $500,000 bail on Oct. 17, according to court records. She had been a language arts teacher at Columbia High School for nine years until she was accused of sexually assaulting five male students.

The charges against her include several counts of endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated sexual assault. On Sept. 26, her attorney argued to have her $500,000 bail reduced to $150,000. He argued that she had no criminal history and had ties to the community. The motion was denied, however.

The woman was ordered to stay away from the high school and the alleged victims, according to a spokesperson for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. The alleged victims were all age 15 at the time of the incidents, which allegedly took place between 2013 and 2014 in the woman's car and on school property. The case is further complicated by an alleged video that shows the woman performing oral sex on one of the students. In spite of the video, her attorney says he believes she is innocent and could very well be a victim herself.

Sexual assault laws can be very stringent, carrying severe penalties for anyone who is convicted. When an individual is charged with a sex crime, a criminal defense attorney could help with his or her case. The attorney could examine all of the evidence and prepare a viable defense. In some cases, he or she could negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor for a possible reduced sentence or probation.

Source: NJ.com, "Maplewood teacher released from jail on charges of sexually assaulting 5 students", Bill Wichert, October 29, 2014

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