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Fmr. ‘Teacher Of The Year’ Must Register As Sex Offender After Guilty Plea

Erica DePalo (Credit: CBS 2)

Erica DePalo (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former Essex County teacher of the year has admitted having sex with a 15-year-old boy enrolled in an honors class she taught.

Erica DePalo pleaded guilty Tuesday to child endangerment.

In return, county prosecutors will recommend she get lifetime parole supervision when she’s sentenced in April.

DePalo will also have to register as a sex offender and forfeit her teacher’s license.

DePalo declined comment after entering her plea.

Prosecutors said the 33-year-old Montclair resident had a brief sexual relationship with a student in her honors English class at West Orange High School. She initially was 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 of 2012.  The victim also visited DePalo at her apartment during that time and the two had sexual relations on more than one occasion, according to a release from the prosecutor’s office.

“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.”

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

DePalo is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29.

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