A former teacher plead guilty to sexually assaulting half a dozen of her male students in Essex County, New Jersey, Thursday.
North Jersey reported:
Former Columbia High School teacher Nicole Dufault, 40, entered a guilty plea as jury selection was underway, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. Dufault was arrested in September 2014 and charged with multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to multiple students.
“Authorities say the boys were between 14 and 15 years old at the time of the incidents, which occurred between 2013 and 2014,” the report said.
The former language arts teacher who taught at the school for nine years, was accused of committing the sexual acts on school property and inside her vehicle.
“Additional students came forward after the initial charges were filed and she faced a 40-count indictment on charges of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child,” the report continued.
However, Dufault’s attorney, Timothy Smith, argued that his client’s previous brain surgery made her vulnerable to the students.
Smith claimed Dufault suffered from “frontal lobe syndrome” which some experts say makes an individual unable to control their impulses.
Dufault was reportedly caught on video engaging in a sexual act with two of her students, a source told CBS New York. The source also claimed the former teacher was forced to commit the acts and that her family was threatened.
Prosecutors plan to recommend during her sentencing June 8 that Dufault be sentenced to five years in prison.
“We believe this is an appropriate resolution,” Assistant Prosecutor Eric Plant said in a statement.
“We hope that it will deter other individuals entrusted with the welfare of children from engaging in similar acts and ensures the public’s safety by requiring Ms. Dufault to register as a sex offender and forfeit her employment as a teacher in this state,” the statement continued.
Prior to her time at Columbia High School, Dufault also taught at public schools in Passaic and Bergen counties.