When he was a priest, this N.J. teacher impregnated a 16-year-old. No, you can’t fire him, school district is told.

nj.com | 5/1/2019 | Staff
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A veteran Burlington County teacher who had a baby with a 16-year-old girl while he was a Catholic priest nearly 30 years ago should not lose his job because of his past, a state arbitrator told the school district.

Cinnaminson school officials brought up tenure charges against middle school teacher Joseph DeShan earlier this year after parents learned about his history as a priest in the diocese in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

DeShan - Priesthood - Years - Girl - Church

DeShan left the priesthood in 1994, four years after he impregnated a teenage girl in a church youth group he had allegedly been sexually abusing since she was 14, according to news reports in Connecticut newspapers after the relationship was revealed in 2002.

By then, DeShan was already a popular teacher in Cinnaminson. School officials removed him from the classroom for three weeks in 2002 while they investigated. But he quickly returned to teaching after some parents and students rallied to his defense.

Year - School - District - Mind - Tenure

Earlier this year, the school district changed its mind and filed tenure charges against DeShan after the parents of current students learned about the former priest’s past and complained to the school board that a “rapist” was teaching their children at Cinnaminson Middle School.

DeShan is included on a list of current and former clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse released by the Diocese of Bridgeport. DeShan said the sexual relationship with the teenager was consensual and he was never prosecuted in Connecticut due to the statute of limitations law on sexual abuse.

Cinnaminson - School - Officials - Views - Years

Cinnaminson school officials argued “parental and societal views have changed” in the last few years, according to tenure charges filed against the teacher in January. The district said DeShan should be removed from teaching for “conduct unbecoming a staff member."

But an arbitrator for the state Department of Education disagreed. In a decision released April 2, arbitrator Walt De Treux...
(Excerpt) Read more at: nj.com
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