Prosecutors say Maplewood teacher had sex with 5 of her students

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Friday, September 19, 2014
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Josh Einiger reports from Maplewood.

MAPLEWOOD -- There are new and disturbing details about a teacher in New Jersey who is accused of sexually abusing students. Prosecutors now say there were a total of five victims.

Nicole Dufault pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the male students at Columbia High School in Maplewood.

All 5 of the victims were 15 years old, and police say some of the sex assaults happened on school grounds during the academic year, as well as during summer school.

Dufault is now being held on half a million dollars bail. Her own two children are now in protective custody.

Dufault has been a teacher at Columbia for nearly a decade.

"I don't understand how someone can't pick up the clues for something like that or how any one of those kids would not have said something before now. It's really surprising to me," said Jennifer Berkeley, a parent.

"In her car? Where? Where could that have happened?" said Julia Uhlman, a recent graduate. "They're 15, not even 17, 18, not even high school seniors. That's appalling. She should be fired."

There's no comment from the district, aside from a letter to parents pledging cooperation with detectives

Dufault, who recently separated from her husband, lives in Caldwell raising their two young kids on her own. Prosecutors said the children have been removed from her custody.

Nancy Ursetti lives just a few doors away.

"She was so gentle with those children, she seemed like the best mother," Ursetti said, "If you can't trust her it's like, 'oh, my gosh.'"