High School Checked Teacher's Background
NH-V Officials Say Pamela Balogh Came to District from Somerset County with 'Stellar Reputation.'
By Andrea Eilenberger
The Express-Times [Pennsylvania]
December 19, 2006
North Hunterdon/Voorhees Regional High School officials are dismayed by last week's arrest of a physical education teacher now charged with sexually assaulting a former student at a Somerset County school.
They hired Pamela Balogh last year after a thorough review process, according to a letter the district released Monday.
The statement is posted on the district's Web site and is intended to keep the community informed, North Hunterdon Principal Michael Hughes said.
"We want to guarantee the lines of communication are open," Hughes said.
Balogh, 39, of Bethlehem, is accused of sexually assaulting the girl over a 10-month period while she was her coach and teacher at Immaculata High School in Somerville, N.J.
The alleged abuse began in December 2004 when the girl was 15 and continued through September 2005, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.
Balogh began working at North Hunterdon in September 2005 and was also the field hockey coach.
She has been suspended with pay since Thursday pending "resolution of this matter" in the court and district, the letter states.
Her salary is $47,970 a year, district interim Business Administrator James Cardaneo said.
Balogh came to the district with a "stellar reputation" after coaching at Immaculata for 12 years, according to the statement.
School board President Peter Marra and district Superintendent Charles Shaddow signed the statement. Neither could be reached for comment Monday.
The board held face-to-face interviews and conducted a "comprehensive reference check" before offering Balogh the job, according to the statement.
Hughes said the school followed all district and state guidelines in the hiring process.
The letter refers to a newspaper report stating Balogh left Immaculata on good terms with the school, administration and players.
An Immaculata staff member Monday referred all questions to the Diocese of Metuchen.
Diocese spokeswoman Joanne Ward would not comment on the terms under which Balogh left Immaculata. She said that information is part of the prosecutor's case. She also said personnel information is confidential.
The diocese learned of the allegations Dec. 13 and notified the Somerset County prosecutor the same day, Ward said.
Balogh graduated from North Hunterdon in 1985. Her success in high school and college sports earned her places in the North Hunterdon and Temple University halls of fame.
She is facing charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact, fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Hughes said district officials will comply fully with the prosecutor's investigation.
"We wanted to let our community know we're cooperating 100 percent," Hughes said.
Reporter Andrea Eilenberger can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.