Mayor’s daughter engaged in sexual conduct with student, cops say
LODI — A local middle school teacher who is also the daughter of the town's mayor is accused of inappropriate behavior with at least one student.
Stephanie A. Carafa, 32, a teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, was arrested after police learned that she had exchanged explicit pictures and videos with a juvenile under the age of 16, according to Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo. After the initial complaint a joint investigation by the special victims unit from the prosecutor's office and the Lodi Police Department revealed that Carafa had also "engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct" with a student under the age of 16, the prosecutor's office said.
Carafa is the daughter of Lodi Mayor Emil Carafa, according to NorthJersey.com. The mayor told the website that his daughter is "the love of my life, as is my family."
"There is a process in this country, and that process is the court of law," he said, according to the report. "I know that people in their human nature are inquisitive, and I understand that. I respect their inquisitiveness, but my main concern right now is my daughter."
According to the borough's website, Emil Carafa had previously been the principal of the Washington Elementary School.
Stephanie Carafa was charged with one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and one count of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact. She is scheduled to have a detention hearing on Nov. 2, according to Calo. A spokesperson for the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office was unsure whether the charges against Carafa involved one student or multiple students.
The arrest comes less than a month after a teacher at Montgomery High School was arrested fpr allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a 17-year-old student at the Somerset County school. Michelina Aichele was arrested after the student told authorities she had sent him naked pictures of herself for several months, and engaged in inappropriate conversations with him over social media and email, police have said.
According to state pension records, Stephanie Carafa has been employed with the district since 2012. She was not listed on the school directory as of Monday night. An after-hours email to Principal Jack Lipari seeking comment has not yet been returned.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know as of Monday night whether Carafa had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.