Court rules former Paramus Catholic overseas chaperones cannot be charged with sexual assault

The Record

MARCH 18, 2015


A state Supreme Court ruling that dismissed charges Wednesday against two former Paramus Catholic High School chaperones accused of having sex with students during an overseas trip will leave parents worried about sending their children on trips, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said. He called on lawmakers to amend the state’s criminal code to remedy the court decision.

Defense attorneys and some legal experts, meanwhile, defended the ruling as one that was based on a long-established principle that crimes should be prosecuted where they were committed.

“I am hopeful that school districts throughout New Jersey recognize the significance of this ruling, at least until it is corrected by statute,” Molinelli said in a statement Wednesday. “Any school-sponsored class event outside of the state of New Jersey and where a similar incident is alleged to have occurred might meet with the same result, much to the surprise of parents and guardians that might believe otherwise when they authorize their child to attend such events.”

The state’s highest court ruled unanimously that Artur Sopel and Michael Sumulikoski, two former ­employees of the school, cannot be charged in New Jersey for alleged acts |in Germany.

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