– A teacher at West Essex Regional
High School was arrested today and charged
with having a sexual relationship with a
student at the school, Attorney General
Stuart Rabner and Criminal Justice Director
Gregory A. Paw announced.
to Director Paw, Michelle Morano, 33, of
Cedar Grove, was arrested about 7 a.m. by
investigators from the Division of Criminal
Justice who stopped her car near her home
as she left for work. She has been charged
with sexual assault, a second-degree crime.
is alleged that Morano, an English teacher
at the high school, began a sexual relationship
with the student in late 2006 that continued
until January. The student was 17 years
old at the time of the relationship. He
now is 18.
is being held in the Essex County Jail in
lieu of $200,000 bail. She has been ordered
to surrender her passport as a condition
of bail and not to communicate or have any
other contact with the victim. She is scheduled
to be in court for a first appearance before
Judge JoAnne Y. Watson at 9 a.m. on Monday
in Essex County.
alleged conduct of Morano was uncovered
by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office
of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor during the
course of a routine investigation. The school
is cooperating in the ongoing investigation.
case is being investigated by State Investigators
Johnny Ho and Joe Vendas of the Office of
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, with assistance
from the State Police. It is being prosecuted
by Deputy Attorney General Richard Queen.
state law, second-degree crimes carry a
sentence of up to 10 years in state prison
and a criminal fine of up to $150,000.
charge is merely an accusation and the defendant
is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The investigation will be presented to a
grand jury for review and potential indictment.