A newly wed New Jersey high school teacher, 32-year-old Nicole McDonough, was indicted on charges that included having sex with student and “improper relations” with two others. However, the teacher is entering a diversion program in hopes of avoiding jail time for her indiscretions.
The Daily Mail reports that McDonough, who also goes by Nicole Howell, was arrested in December after she was charged with having sex with an 18-year-old male student and improper relations with two other 18-year-old male students. The teacher allegedly had relations with one of the teens between April and June of 2013 and relations with the two other students between April and June of 2014.
According to the Daily Record, McDonough engaged in sexual relations with one of the students and improper relations with the other two. The “improper relations” included “fraternization” and “improper communication” between the teacher and her students. McDonough was an English teacher at West Morris Mendham when the incidents occurred. McDonough held a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Elizabeth in Florham Park where she majored in English literature and minored in secondary education.
Following the teacher’s arrest, the West Morris school placed her on administrative leave while the investigation was completed. Since all three students were of the age of consent, the teacher was charged with official misconduct since she was working as a public servant at the time of her alleged actions. This means that since she was employed by the state to work in a specific capacity, she may be found guilty of official misconduct for obtained benefit to herself by performing unauthorized functions of her employment.
“A person is guilty of official misconduct if he or she, as a public servant, acts with purpose to obtain a benefit for herself or another and commits an act relating to her office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions.”
In an attempt to avoid jail time for her behavior, McDonough applied for Morris County’s Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. This programs allows first-time, non-violent offenders with alternatives to traditional prosecution by completing a specified program along with a probationary period. The probation can last anywhere from one to three years and is only offered if specific conditions are met by the defendant.
The Mail notes that “if McDonough is allowed to enter the PTI, she may have to undergo random urine testing, pay restitution, and submit to psychological, drug and alcohol evaluations.”
Do you think the teacher should be allowed to enter into a diversion program instead of facing jail time for her inappropriate relations with her students? Does the fact that all three teens were 18 at the time of the relations make a difference?
[Image Credit: Facebook/ West Morris Mendham]