The West Orange High School female teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student is scheduled to be arraigned next week in Newark, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Erica Depalo, 33, of Montclair, was , whom she taught in her honors English class at the high school. The relationship began about July 15 and ended on Aug. 28, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Depalo will be arraigned on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Superior Court, according to the prosecutor's office. Her attorney is Anthony Alfano, of Lyndhurst.
Depalo was charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.
On Wednesday, Alfano said that Depalo "maintains her innocence," and will be entering a plea of not guilty to all charges at the upcoming arraignment.
"There has been an outpouring of support for Erica over the past few days from people that know her and have been associated with her over the years,” said Alfano on Wednesday.
The prosecutor’s office arrested her on Friday and she was charged in Newark at the Veterans Courthouse. She immediately posted bail of $100,000 and was released later that day.
Depalo was chosen as the , which is part of the state Department of Education’s New Jersey Teacher of the Year program. That same year, she also advanced to be one of the five finalists for the statewide Teacher of the Year.
In a statement released on Friday by Interim Superintendent James O’Neill, Depalo was suspended "immediately and indefinitely" by the district.
More information will be posted when it becomes available.
These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law.