This 33-year-old “white” witch from Montclair, Essex County, NJ’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, has been charged with first degree aggravated sexual assault, second degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child for an alleged sexual relationship with a 15 year-old male student. She has been released on $100,000 bail.
The sexual relationship is alleged to have taken place from mid-June this year until sometime last week. DePalo’s car was impounded as part of the investigation, which is ongoing. Single and employed at Essex County’s West Orange High School since 2003, DePalo was suspended upon her arrest last Friday.
Erica DePalo, who taught Honors English to ninth- and tenth-graders, was selected as Essex County’s 2011-2012 top teacher as part of the state Department ofEducation’s “New Jersey Teacher of the Year” program.
She was presented with a commendation from the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders in October 2011. At the time she was quoted as saying, “I am merely a representative of all the hardworking dedicated teachers, especially those with whom I work at West Orange High School … teachers who are committed to their students, who consistently advocate for their students, and who exceedingly go above and beyond their everyday duties andjob descriptions.”
No words about the racial classification of the victim.