Lumberton Suspends Educator
By Joseph Gidjunis
April 26, 2008
LUMBERTON — The township board of education voted unanimously, 8-0, late Thursday to suspend without pay one of its most popular educators, Joseph Macanga.
One board member, Terri West, did not attend the meeting.
Macanga, a former Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was Lumberton Middle School's "Educator of the Year" in 2003. He was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday and charged with possession of child pornography.
On the Web site RateMyTeachers.com, Macanga is one of nine teachers with a best five out of five overall rating.
"When we are facing a crisis so emotionally charged, all you want to do is protect your children," said board Vice President Sheila Ellis during a public meeting Thursday.
An overwhelming parental concern has motivated the school district to schedule a meeting for parents at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Lumberton Middle School auditorium. Administrators are asking parents not to bring their children.
FBI agents arrested Macanga at his township home about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, officials said. Macanga, who has been teaching in the district for 10 years, was ordered held on $100,000 bail.
Macanga admitted using his home computer to send and receive child pornography in two FBI interviews last week, according to the criminal complaint. No local students were involved, officials said.
Macanga graduated from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., and was ordained in 1986. He voluntarily left active ministry in 1995 with no indication of child pornography or anything similar in his files, according to a statement from the archdiocese.
If convicted, Macanga faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Reach Joseph Gidjunis at (856) 486-2604 or email@example.com.
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