Officials have suspended a New Jersey teacher with pay after she said she was the victim of a sexual assault.
Toms River School Superintendent Frank Roselli said in a letter to parents that the suspension was in the best interest of the teacher, students and staff, pending a thorough investigation.
Retired marine police officer Bruce Figular, 50, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact. Authorities say he impersonated a police officer to enter Toms River Intermediate East school and assaulted the teacher on Jan. 14.
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His attorney claims Figular just gave the teacher a hug as their relationship, which Figular told the Asbury Park Press consisted of multiple romantic encounters in the school, ended.
The teacher's attorney, Bradley Billhimer, told the Asbury Park Press in a prepared statement that the suspect's claim was false and the teacher's suspension was unfortunate because she's the victim.
“Suspension of any employee that comes forward to report a crime has the potential to have a chilling effect on the criminal justice system,” Billhimer told the paper. “We understand the concern of the parents of the children that attend Intermediate East, and we are hopeful that this matter will be resolved swiftly and amicably.”