SOUTHERN NJ -- Black Horse Pike Regional School District (BHPRSD) has hired a Philadelphia public relations firm in the wake of a sex scandal at Triton Regional High School that saw three teachers and two administrators arrested Thursday.
The district hired Braithwaite Communications on Thursday to handle the "media barrage" it anticipated following Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk's announcement of the educators' arrests, Braithwaite account supervisor Sarah Lindsay said.
The terms of the agreement are not known at this time.
Three Triton teachers—Jeffrey Logandro, 32, Nicholas Martinelli, 28, and Daniel Michielli, 27—are charged with having sexual contact with now-former students during the 2011-12 school year.
According to investigation documents, Michielli had sexual intercourse with his victim, who was 17 years old at the time, during the school year, while Martinelli did not engage in sexual intercourse with his victim, who was 18 at the time, until after the girl had graduated from Triton.
Martinelli, who is only charged with second-degree official misconduct at this point, did admit he had "kissed victim and touched her intimate parts on multiple occasions during the school year," according to the records.
Several students chanted "Free Martinelli!" as they left the Runnemede school Thursday afternoon. The popular physical education teacher was the boys' soccer coach through the 2011 season.
According to the investigation records, Logandro never engaged in sexual intercourse with his victim, who was 17 years old at the time of the alleged contact, but he did admit to kissing her and touching her "intimate parts." The documents also note the 32-year-old math teacher and girls' track coach apologized to his victim's parents for kissing their daughter.
Triton principal Catherine DePaul, 55, and former vice principal Jernee Kollock, 39, are charged with second-degree official misconduct, as well as hindering an investigation—a disorderly persons offense. Both are accused of attempting to cover up allegations of teacher-student sex after a student went to a substitute teacher with the information in April.
Kollock became vice principal at Timber Creek Regional High School—also a BHPRSD school—on July 1, when she replaced a retiring vice principal. It is not yet known when the BHPRSD board approved the transfer.
"It's obvious there existed a culture at Triton High School whereby teachers thought they could get away with the relationships with their students, and administrators turned a blind eye to evidence of these relationships' existence," Faulk said.
Patch was unsuccessful in attempts to reach Logandro and Michielli, a math teacher and the Class of 2012 adviser, at their homes Friday afternoon.
All five educators have been suspended. The BHPRSD Board of Education next meets Thursday night at Timber Creek.
BHPRSD has not incurred any legal fees specific to the Triton sex investigation at this point, Lindsay said.
The investigation is ongoing, according to Faulk, who encourages any potential additional victims to contact Inv. Robin Morante at 856-225-8480.
For more on the Triton teacher-student sex charges, visit:
- Suspended Triton Educators Still Drawing Paychecks?
- Prosecutor: 'Moral, Ethical and Legal Failures' in Triton Sex Case
- District, Superintendent Issue Statements on Triton Sex Scandal
- 'Shocked,' 'Astonished' Triton Students React to Sex Scandal
- Triton Teachers, Administrators Charged in Sex Scandal
- [UPDATE] Triton Teachers Under Investigation