WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An elementary school teacher in New Jersey was arrested Thursday, accused of sexually abusing one of his students.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, the alleged victim is a 10-year-old girl.
The teacher arrested was 36-year-old Christopher Yonitch, charged in connection with alleged sexual abuse of the fifth grader. One mother Slattery spoke to said she has a child in that class.
“I do know him. He’s my daughter’s teacher. I can’t believe it. Oh my God, this is crazy,” Carla Rivera said.
West Orange School District officials said Yonitch, who teaches fifth grade, has taught at Washington Elementary School for the past nine years. Drivers leaving the faculty parking lot Thursday didn’t want to speak, offering nothing more than “no comment.”
At Yonitch’s home in Livingston, there appeared to be someone inside, but no one answered the door. Slattery spoke to a next-door neighbor.
“That’s really very sad because he had two step-daughters, two of them. I see them and think, fine, never hear anything about them,” Mary Gerges said.
Yonitch was charged with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, allegedly all with the same girl. Slattery spoke to the mother of an 11-year-old who was a student in Yonitch’s class last year.
“I’m concerned for my daughter because she said he was a favorite teacher last year,” Carmen Gonzalez said.
“That’s very shocking hearing that. It, like, scares me a little bit,” parent Jihahn Conaway added.
The school superintendent called the charges discouraging and disheartening. Yonitch has been suspended and replaced.
Vonitch was freed on $50,000 cash bond.
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