West Orange Teacher Pleads Not Guilty to Sex With Student

Erica DePalo, of Montclair, was arraigned Wednesday in Newark.

The West Orange High School teacher charged with having a sexual relationship with one of her students was arraigned Wednesday in Superior Court in Newark. 

Erica DePalo, 33, of Montclair, pleaded not guilty to who attended her honors English class at the high school, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.  

DePalo, who was chosen as the , is facing charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a child. 

Representing DePalo is Anthony Alfano. In a , Alfano said Depalo "maintains her innocence.”

"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 in a previous interview. 

Her next scheduled court date is Oct. 22. 

Her relationship with the student began around July 15 and ended Aug. 28, according to the prosecutor’s office. 

She was arrested on Aug. 31 by the prosecutor’s office and was charged in Newark at the Veterans Courthouse. She immediately posted bail of $100,000 and was released later that day.

DePalo began her tenure at the high school in 2003. She was an English teacher and was also the junior varsity tennis coach at the school. 

In a statement released shortly after her arrest on Aug. 31, Interim Superintendent James O’Neill wrote that DePalo "immediately and indefinitely" by the district. 

Franklin Street September 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM
This may be a classic "he said,she said" case. There is only one way out of this mess for the teacher if she is innocent because, her reputation is shot even if she is found not guilty. There will be doubters. She should take a lie detector test. If she passes ,this will move public opionion in her favor and scare the heck out of the accusor..
Brett Kaiser September 13, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Are we talking about the Clinton Definition of Sex? Define the word "The".
Smith September 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Don't understand why someone would even put themselves in that situation. Like I say so many times, common sense goes a long way.
sheryl simon September 13, 2012 at 04:58 PM
It's a shame, I hope that she is innocent. I will wait for the jury's decision. Ms. DePalo taught my daughter for 4 years and what started as a rocky relationship ended with my daughter respecting Ms. DePalo and wanting to be an English teacher as well. She guided my daughter through those tough 4 years of HS and I give her some credit for the wonderful way my daughter has turned out!
Gary Englert September 13, 2012 at 05:37 PM
It is incumbent upon law enforcement authorities to be on firm ground before bringing such charges and, absent any evidence to the contrary, let's assume that they are; responsible people don't destroy another's life on a whim. While we hold that a person is innocent until proven guilty, this story has gone viral and both the woman's prospects of receiving a fair trial, or regaining her reputation if the charges are unproven, are certainly questionable. That said, such charges surely aren't brought based on anyone's unsubstantiated allegations.
MSS September 13, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson are examples of cases going "viral". In both those cases, they were found innocent. I don't think this case has gone viral. I haven't seen it on Nancy Grace. I don't think we can rule out her being found innocent as well.
Leanna September 13, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I hope that this really not true. Nothing to rejoice about. I hope the child will confess if this is not true.
Leanna September 13, 2012 at 07:06 PM
My prayer is that the truth will come to bear.
Adam Kraemer September 14, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Justice must be done and this issue has to be addressed. However, it is unfortunate that our focus is on the salacious details of this incident. While serious issue of educational policy and fiscal policy need to be addressed regarding our schools
jose m. September 14, 2012 at 09:09 AM
Really takes a toll on youre nervs after learning all the things she said to the students abut the chief implaining drugs and all. I tell my kids that always tell me everything even the minimal thing if strike them to be suspicius.
Gary Englert September 14, 2012 at 04:49 PM
MSS: I would suggest you google "Erica Depalo" before asserting this story hasn't gone viral as it most certainly has. As to both OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony, you're underscoring the single salient point I am making; despite having been found innocent in a court of law, both were previously tried and convicted in the court of public opinion and neither has regained their reputation and likely never will.
Brett Kaiser September 17, 2012 at 12:01 AM
>> all the things she said to the students abut the chief implaining drugs and all Huh? I do have *2nd hand* information about some *interesting* things she has said to the students....but what does that mean above?


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