Ruling: Ex-Bridgeport priest in sex scandal can keep NJ teaching job
A former Bridgeport Diocese priest turned teacher, who impregnated a 16-year-old girl, will be allowed to keep his job in New Jersey, a state arbitrator has ruled.
Joseph DeShan has been a middle school teacher in the Cinnaminson, N.J. school district before his sexual relationship with the girl was revealed in 2002.
DeShan was assigned to St. Augustine Cathedral in Bridgeport. In 1988, he initiated a sexual relationship with the girl, who worked in the church rectory. She became pregnant less than two years later.
Church records show then Bridgeport Bishop Edward Egan had the girl fired from her job at the rectory and didn’t inform police of the situation. DeShan was removed from ministry 1989, according to diocese records.
In 1990, he was hired as elementary school teacher in Cinnaminson, N.J. He is currently an English teacher in the Cinnaminson Middle School.
NJ.com reports that when school officials learned of his past they removed him from the classroom for three weeks in 2002 while they investigated. But he quickly returned to teaching after some parents and students rallied to his defense.
Earlier this year, NJ.com reports, the school district changed its mind and filed tenure charges against DeShan after the parents of current students learned about the former priest’s past and complained to the school board that a “rapist” was teaching their children at Cinnaminson Middle School.
Officials said, “parental and societal views have changed” in the last few years, according to tenure charges filed against the teacher in January.
Last month, an arbitrator for the state Department of Education disagreed. In his decision, arbitrator Walt De Treux said DeShan’s past sexual misconduct is not enough to remove him from the classroom.
The board of education did not prove that DeShan “engaged in any inappropriate conduct while holding public employment,” De Treux wrote in his decision.
Cinnaminson’s Board of Education can appeal the decision to the state New Jersey Department of Education, NJ.com reported.