NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New Jersey high school teacher facing a jury trial has changed her plea to guilty over an indictment originally alleging that she had sex with six male students in 2014.
Nicole Dufault, of Caldwell, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and child endangerment in a 40-count indictment handed up in February 2015. At the time she pleaded not guilty to the indictment.
On Thursday she entered a guilty plea to three counts of aggravated criminal sexual contact.
Authorities say the victims were 14- and 15-year-old boys and the assaults occurred many times in 2013 and 2014. They say some of the sex acts occurred on school property and in Dufault’s car.
According to the Essex County prosecutor’s office on Thursday, the guilty plea was entered as jury selection was underway. Under the terms of the plea agreement, she is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8.
New Jersey authorities plan to recommend she be sentenced to five years in prison, must forfeit her government employment, give up her teaching licenses, register as a sex Offender pursuant to Megan’s Law and remain under parole supervision for life.
The then-35-year-old Dufault was a language arts teacher at Columbia High School for several years before she was arrested. She’s was suspended without pay and remained free on bail.
The students were part of the program called “Bridge to Success” at Columbia High School in Maplewood, CBS2 reported.
Sources told CBS2 Dufault was captured on video in a sexual act with two of the students. The same source claims Dufault was forced into committing the acts and that her family was threatened.
Prior to working at Columbia High School, she taught at public schools in Passaic and Bergen counties. She has been a language arts teacher for nine years.