Probation for Ex-Pleasantville, NJ, Teacher for Sex With 18-year-old Student
A Pleasantville High School teacher who was arrested in 2019 for having a sexual relationship with a student was sentenced to probation this week by a judge.
Jessica Gaeckle, now 33, of Galloway Township, had been charged with having an unlawful sexual relationship with an 18-year-old Pleasantville High School student.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office believed Gaeckle had engaged in sexual relations with the student on at least two occasions and directed the student to destroy evidence upon learning of a pending, criminal investigation.
While the student was not a minor, Gaeckle was charged with official misconduct due to her supervisory role over the teen. She had to forfeit public employment under the plea agreement.
New Jersey's age of consent is 16. However, the age is 18 when consent involves an adult with a supervisory authority, such as a teacher. Teens under 16 can give consent to someone who is no more than four years older than they are.
According to Breaking AC, defense attorney Steve Scheffler told the judge that Gaeckle had been having mental health problems at the time and that medication prescribed for the issue was not effective and she had been self-medicating with alcohol.
The attorney said Gaeckle entered treatment with Alcoholics Anonymous 17 days after being arrested on January 18, 2019, and had turned her life around, becoming a role model for her two daughters, repairing her marriage, and taking a leadership role at AA.
“I’m beyond embarrassed and apologetic to the damage to the victim and my own family,” Gaeckle told the judge. “It’s been a long road and on that road, I have taken measures to correct behaviors.”
Under probation, if Gaeckle completes probation without issues, she can avoid a 120-day jail sentence.