Three educators pleaded guilty Monday in relation to a sex with students scandal at a Camden County high school.
Former Triton High School math teachers and coaches Jeff Logandro, 32, of Nicole Court in Blackwood, N.J. and Daniel Michielli, 27, of Wimbledon Way in Blackwood both pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct after they carried on improper physical relationships with students that they held authority over, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk announced in a press release.
Former Triton principal Catherine DePaul, 55, of Hancock Court in Woodbury pleaded guilty to a disorderly person charge of failure to report a crime, after she didn't report Logrando’s, Michielli’s and another man’s alleged abuses to law enforcement, prosecutors said.
"It's obvious there existed a culture at Triton High School whereby teachers thought they could get away with improper relationships with their students and administrators turned a blind eye," Faulk said after the educators were arrested last year.
All the teachers were suspended while the legal process took place. On Monday, in a letter sent to parents and posted to the district’s website, Black Horse Pike Regional School District Superintendent John Golden said that all three educators were no longer employed with the district.
In his letter, Golden ensured parents the district hold employees to the highest standard:
The Black Horse Pike Regional School District and Triton Regional High School community will remain dedicated and resolute in our belief that all students should be guaranteed a safe and secure learning environment; one in which our faculty serves as role models for developing the qualities of sound character. As a result of that foundation becoming jeopardized by actions counter to those beliefs, the Black Horse Pike Regional School District has responded and will continue to hold our employees to the highest standards in order to protect students and honor the aforementioned belief. We, as a community, have a shared commitment to doing what is best for students so that they may be prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.
The faculty and staff understand that it is not acceptable to ignore that commitment, nor will actions counter to that commitment be tolerated. We embrace the idea that honesty, respect, and concern for others are eternal and life-enhancing values. The Triton Regional High School staff members and students have endured challenges over the past few months and yet all have displayed courage and maintained academic focus.
Prosecutors say that Logrando admitted to engaging in an illegal improper activity starting in November 2011 while Michielli admitted to illegal activity starting in January 2012. The alleged relationships ended when the girl’s graduated in June, prosecutors said.
As part of their pleas, both men will serve 30 days in jail, they forfeited their jobs in the district and agreed to no longer hold any public jobs in New Jersey. They each face one to five years of probation when they are sentenced next month, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors say that in April 2012 that a Triton student alerted a substitute teacher that teachers were having sex with students. In turn, that teacher told DePaul but prosecutors say that the principal failed to report the allegations to law enforcement.
As part of her plea, DePaul agreed to forfeit her job, never hold a public job in New Jersey again and will serve one year probation, prosecutors said.
Another teacher, Nick Martinelli, and the school’s vice principal, Jernee Kollock, still face charges.