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Police: NJ Teacher Arrested Over Explicit Internet Chat

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Richard D'Amato Jr (credit: Passaic County Sheriff's Department)

Richard D’Amato Jr (credit: Passaic County Sheriff’s Department)

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BAYONNE, N.J. (AP) — Hours after he was hired, authorities accused a New Jersey teacher of engaging in explicit online chat with a law enforcement officer who posed as a 12-year-old girl.

Richard D’Amato Jr. of Bayonne is charged with two counts of attempted sexual assault of a minor, two counts of attempted lewdness to a minor and child endangerment.

Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik tells The Record newspaper the 24-year-old engaged in chats with the officer and exposed himself by webcam on several occasions.

Berdnik says D’Amato told investigators he had signed a contract to teach at Rutherford High School just before his arrest Wednesday.

The teacher has been ordered held on $75,000 bail. It’s not clear whether he has a lawyer.

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