New Jersey 105

April 29, 2019

By Sergio Bichao

Times may have changed but a former priest accused of having a sexual affair with an underage girl in the 1980s still has his job as a middle school teacher in this district.

An arbitrator for the state Department of Education has ordered the district to return English teacher Joseph DeShan back to the classroom despite protests by parents worried about his troubling past.

The arbitrator’s April 2 decision says the district had no basis to file tenure charges against DeShan because officials provided no proof that he did anything wrong while he’s been employed in their schools.

DeShan was suspended from his position earlier this school year for the second time in his nearly 21-year career in Cinnaminson. In both cases, the suspensions were the result of the same reports of his sexual affair with an underage girl in the 1980s when he was in his late 20s and a priest in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The woman, who first told her story when she was an adult, said the sex began when she was 14 and continued until DeShan impregnated her when she was 15 or 16.

From published reports, DeShan appears to have never publicly denied the relationship but he was never charged with a crime because the woman went public with her story after Connecticut’s statute of limitations on sex crimes had run out. The legal age of consent in both states is 16 unless the adult is in a position of authority.

DeShan could not be reached for comment for this story and New Jersey 101.5 did not know whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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