Triton Regional High School teacher Nick Martinelli admitted in court Thursday to hindering an investigation into his alleged improper relationship with a student, and immediately resigned his position.
Martinelli, 28, pleaded guilty in Superior Court to fourth-degree hindering apprehension. As part of the plea, he’ll be sentenced to probation and will forfeit his teaching certificate in New Jersey. Martinelli, who was ordered not to have contact with the victim, will learn the exact terms of his sentence April 12.
In a statement of probable cause to charge Martinelli, the 18-year-old student told police she and the teacher had sex and had kissed and touched each other sexually. Martinelli was a physical education teacher at Triton and coached boys soccer through the 2011 season.
The now former Triton teacher is the third to plead guilty to charges surrounding a teacher-student sex scandal that rocked the high school last year. Jeff Logandro, 32, of Blackwood, and Daniel Michielli, 27, of Blackwood, both pleaded guilty last month and will be sentenced Friday. Both face 30 days in jail or house arrest.
Ex-principal Catherine DePaul also already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year of probation. Charges against vice principal Jernee Kollock, 39, of Williamstown, are pending.
Martinelli, of the 300 block of Windsor Drive in Cherry Hill, was charged with the least serious crimes among the teachers because his victim was 18 at the time. He admitted in court Thursday to impeding an investigation into his improper relationship with the student by telling her to keep their association secret, according to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.
Triton has dealt with the fallout of the scandal since it came to light in October 2012. All four educators who pleaded guilty thus far did so to lesser charges. All five of those charged continued to receive paychecks, which is required by law, during their suspensions.
The Black Horse Pike Regional School District paid more than $95,000 to DePaul, Logandro and Michielli through their guilty pleas. Martinelli will now stop drawing a paycheck, while Kollock is eligible to be paid until any indictment or conviction.
The three students involved in the case, whose identities haven't been released, filed a tort notice announcing their intention to potentially sue the school district over the matter. All of the teens graduated from Triton in 2012.
For past coverage of the Triton Teacher-Student Sex Scandal, see:
- Triton Sex Scandal Victims Might Sue School District
- Former Triton Principal, Teachers Collected $95K+ While Suspended
- 'Foundation Jeopardized': School District Responds to Guilty Pleas
- BHPRSD Board Moves to Take Suspended Triton Educators' Pay
- Suspended Triton Educators Still Drawing Paychecks?
- School District Hires PR Firm in Wake of Triton Sex Scandal
- District, Superintendent Issue Statements on Triton Sex Scandal
- 'Shocked,' 'Astonished' Triton Students React to Sex Scandal
- [UPDATE] Triton Teachers Under Investigation
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