A former teacher at Monmouth Regional High School recently pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child after being accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual relationships with several students at the school in Tinton Falls.
29-year-old Jackson resident Nicholas DePue, a former Monmouth Regional High School teacher, was fired last year following a sex scandal involving two girls with whom he was accused of engaging in sexual contact and exchanging sexual text messages. DePue pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in Monmouth County Superior Court in Freehold on Monday, January 4th.
The case began when DePue was arrested in June of 2015 after allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a female student at the school in Tinton Falls. Shortly thereafter, in July, yet another female student reported having a sexual relationship with him. The female victims were ages 16 and 17, respectively. Ultimately, DePue pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in connection with each of these relationships.
A charge for endangering the welfare of a child can involve a variety of conduct, each of which is specifically outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. In this case, the applicable subsection is explained as follows:
Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, or who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
DePue’s former position as a teacher translates to a “legal duty” to care for the students under his supervision. He is now subject to two 5 to 10-year prison terms in connection with each count of endangering the welfare of a child. The State’s recommendation after DePue’s guilty plea was two 5-year terms of imprisonment, neither of which will entail a period of parole ineligibility. He will also be subject to life-long community supervision and registration as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law.
Prior to DePue’s sentencing hearing on April 22nd, he will be subject to a psychosexual evaluation, often referred to as an “Avenel Evaluation,” at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine if he is a repetitive and compulsive offender. The results of the Avenel evaluation will be provided to the presiding judge who will consider the assessment before issuing DePue’s sentence.
For additional information related to case, access the following article: Fired Monmouth Regional teacher admits sexting to teens