NJ Can’t Prosecute Chaperones in Overseas Sex Case

New Jersey Law Journal

Michael Booth, New Jersey Law Journal
March 18, 2015

New Jersey authorities cannot prosecute two high-school chaperones accused of having sex with three high-school students on a school trip to Germany, the state Supreme Court ruled March 18.

In a unanimous, but unsigned, ruling, the court said New Jersey prosecutors have no authority to prosecute sex crimes that occurred outside of the state’s borders.

“There must be territorial jurisdiction in New Jersey for the state to prosecute a crime here,” the court said. “The state has the power to prosecute crimes that occur within its borders but may not bring charges for offenses committed entirely in another state or country.”

Defendants Michael Sumulikoski and Artur Sopel both worked for Paramus Catholic High School in Paramus. Sumulikoski was a permanent substitute and an athletic coach. Sopel was vice president of operations. Both were chaperones for 17 students on a school-sponsored German Club trip in February 2011, according to the opinion.

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