5 adults charged with NJ school sex crimes

October 5, 2012 (RUNNEMEDE, N.J.)

According to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, three teachers allegedly engaged in sexual activity with three female students during their senior year.

"We've uncovered evidence of exchanges of sexually explicit text messages during instructional periods and a trip to the shore involving teachers, victims and other students," Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said at an afternoon news conference.

The alleged misconduct happened between November of last year and this June. 

Jeff Logandro, 32, of Blackwood, N.J., is charged with official misconduct, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child against one of the victims.

Nick Martinelli, 28, of Cherry Hill, N.J., is accused of official misconduct involving another victim.

Dan Michielli, 27, of Blackwood, N.J., is charged with official misconduct, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact committed against a third victim.

Logandro and Michielli are math teachers and Martinelli is a physical education teacher. Logandro is also a girls' track coach and Martinelli is a boys' track coach.

The prosecutor's office said while all three engaged in sexual activity with students, police say Logandro and Michielli engaged in sexual activity with students under the age of 18.

The prosecutor's office went on to say that school policy prohibits teachers from socializing with students outside school and communicating with them by phone or text message, but the three teachers allegedly did both.

They are also accused of taking a trip to the beach with the victims and exchanging sexually explicit text messages.

The principal, Catherine DePaul, 55, of Woodbury, N.J., and the assistant principal, Jernee Kollock, 49, of Williamstown, N.J., are charged with official misconduct.

Investigators say the two administrators were told by a substitute teacher back in April that teachers were engaging in sexual contact with students. The prosecutor said DePaul failed to report it to law enforcement or the Division of Children and Families, as required by law.

Furthermore, investigators say, DePaul met with the student who confided in the substitute teacher and is alleged to have heard first-hand accounts of the incidents.

DePaul allegedly asked the student to write an account of her allegations, with Kollock in the room. Kollock allegedly advised the student what to write and made changes to her account.

"The vice principal assisted this student in preparing a written statement. We believe she assisted in watering down and misleading exactly what they were told," Faulk said. According to investigators, DePaul told investigators she had tried to protect the teachers from the consequences of their actions.

The staff members involved have been suspended and the district will determine their status now that charges have been filed.

All five faculty share the charge of official misconduct. That charge alone comes with a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars.

Two of the teachers were unavailable for comment. Martinelli declined to comment.

Faulk said he has never seen a case this extensive.

"This is the first time I'm aware that we have three different teachers with three different students in the same school year," Faulk said.

Black Horse Pike School District Superintendent John Golden released a statement saying, "We have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior of any kind. As educators and community members nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our students."

Golden says counselors will be available to students and families.

As the investigation continues, the prosecutor's office asks anyone with information to call Investigator Robin Morante at 856-225-8480.

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