An Ex-Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing a Teen Will Keep His Job as a Middle School Teacher

By Emily Alford
May 6, 2019

An arbitrator in New Jersey has ruled that an ex-priest who was removed from the ministry amid allegations he sexually abused and impregnated a 14-year-old parishioner should keep his teaching job at a middle school because school administration has been aware of the abuse for the past 17 years.

Former Rev. Joseph DeShan left the priesthood in 1989 and has been named on the Diocese of Bridgeport’s list of “credibly accused” sexual offenders. Since 1996, he has worked teaching reading to sixth-graders in New Jersey’s Cinnaminson school district. In 2002, the district learned of the abuse allegations after they were reported in the press but chose not to fire DeShan.

In December 2018, parents asked that their children be removed from his classroom after a 12-year-old student said DeShan’s behavior made her uncomfortable, according to The New York Post:

“‘Look at me,” DeShan allegedly told the girl. “Let me see your pretty green eyes. You don’t see them too much anymore.’

DeShan purportedly made the creepy remark in a “weird voice,” according to the seven-page ruling.”

But an arbitrator has ruled that the student’s allegations are hearsay and DeShan can’t be fired for the 1989 allegations because he hasn’t already been fired for the 1989 allegations:

“And despite the changes in “parental and societal views” that district officials say now make DeShan unfit for a classroom, arbitrator Walt De Treux wrote in his ruling that the teacher cannot lose his job for conduct they’ve known about for 17 years.

“‘The fact that some parents now demand his removal from the classroom does not give the BOE a second opportunity to revisit pre-employment conduct of which it has been long aware.’”

Not that it matters as much as other, far more horrific details of the story, but this guy also somehow makes more than $85k a year, which puts him in the 90th percentile of earners for the job. According to the mother of a Cinnaminson Middle School student, DeShan was placed on leave in October and has not returned.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.