NJ teacher arrested on charge of sex with student who’s an adult
PLEASANTVILLE — A South Jersey high school teacher could face years in prison after being charged with having sex with a student — even though he was of legal age.
Galloway resident Jessica R. Gaeckle, 30, a teacher at Pleasantville High School, had sex with the student on at least two occasions, according to Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner.
Prosecutors say she asked the student to destroy evidence of their relationship after she learned about the criminal investigation.
Gaeckle was not charged with a sex crime. Instead, prosecutors used the state's catch-all statute for public corruption. She faces two counts of second-degree official misconduct and a count of third-degree hindering apprehension.
New Jersey's age of consent is 16. However, the age is 18 when it involves an adult with supervisory authority, such as a teacher. Teens under 16 can give consent to someone who is no more than four years older than they are.
New Jersey lawmakers recently tried to make it a sex crime for teachers or school workers and volunteers to have sex with students who are 18 and 19.
Even if a teacher is not found guilty of a crime or arrested, school districts have their own policies barring inappropriate content or relationships with students and teachers can still be fired or lose their teaching credentials for violating those rules.
Public records show Gaeckle was previously assigned to Pleasantville Middle School where she taught English as a second language and earned $53,941.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Saturday whether she had an attorney who could speak on her behalf. She has been released from custody.
Gaeckle is the second staff member of the high school to be arrested in the past year. Then-principal Edward Bonek, 48, was arrested in August at his Absecon home and charged with possessing and sharing images of child sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty in November.