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Erica Depalo, Former NJ Teacher Of Year Admits To Relationship With 15 Year-Old Student

4:35 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
Erica DePalo, CBSNY
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(CBS/AP) NEWARK, N.J. - A former New Jersey teacher of the year admitted having sex with a 15-year-old student on Tuesday.

Erica DePalo, 33, pleaded guilty to child endangerment and will have to register as a sex offender and forfeit her teacher's license. In return, county prosecutors will recommend she get lifetime parole supervision when she is sentenced in April.

Prosecutors said DePalo had a brief sexual relationship with a student in her honors English class at West Orange High School. She was initially charged with aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault, and could have faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Assistant Prosecutor Tony Gutierrez said DePalo and the teen had sexual relations between June and August 2012, CBS New York reports. During that time, the victim also visited DePalo at her apartment and the two had sexual relations on more than one occasion, according to a release from the prosecutor's office.

Prosecutors said the boy's family approved of the plea deal.

"This is a just resolution of the case because it frees the victim from having to testify in open court," Gutierrez said. "The victim's family is also relieved that their son can now move forward."

DePalo is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29, according to CBS New York.

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