Three Triton Regional High School teachers have been charged with having sexual relationships with now-former students, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced Thursday.
The teachers—Jeffrey Logandro, Nicholas Martinelli and Daniel Michielli—have been placed on administrative leave.
Logandro, of Deptford, and Michielli, of Blackwood, are charged with a number of sex crimes for contact with alleged underaged victims.
Martinelli, of Cherry Hill, has only been charged with official misconduct, as his alleged victim was 18 at the time.
Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk noted the investigation is ongoing, saying the probe has thus far uncovered "individual and personal moral, ethical and legal failures on the part of the charged teachers and administrators at Triton High School."
"Our investigation revealed that despite rules and regulations prohibiting it, the improper relationships between the teachers and students were fostered through social media as well as socializing in person outside the school," Faulk said. "Indeed, we uncovered evidence of exchanges of sexually explicit text messages during instructional periods."
(Click on the PDF, right, to read the complaints against the five people charged.)
One of the teachers drove his alleged victim to Ocean City during spring break and fraternized with the girl and other students there, Faulk said.
Also charged in connection with the prosecutor's office probe are Triton Principal Catherine DePaul and Vice Principal Jernee Kollock, who allegedly knew about the teachers' relationships with the students, but did not report them to authorities.
A female student told a substitute teacher at Triton that teachers and students were engaging in sexual activity in April. That information was forwarded to DePaul.
According to a probable cause statement, DePaul told investigators she had tried to protect the teachers from the consequences of their actions, the prosecutor's office said.
The three teachers were placed on administrative leave by Black Horse Pike Regional School District at separate times in the investigation late this summer and earlier in the school year.
Black Horse Pike Regional School District Superintendent John Golden issued a written statement:
Let me be clear, we have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior of any kind. As educators and community members nothng is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our students.
Golden added that the district is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and is offering counseling to any students who need it.
The three former students—all females—reportedly graduated from the Runnemede school in June 2012. They have not been identified.
Logandro and Michiell's alleged victims were 17.
Logandro is charged with criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child and official misconduct. Michielli is charged with sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child and official misconduct.
Faulk noted Martinelli's victim was 18 when the alleged misconduct occurred, resulting in the lesser charge against him.
Martinelli "is charged only with official misconduct because his victim was 18 years of age when he engaged in the improper relations with her," the prosecutor said.
All five educators were arrested today and released on their own recognizance pending initial court appearances, which have been scheduled for Oct. 11.
The investigation reportedly has cast a pall over the school through the first few weeks of the 2012-13 year.
Martinelli, 28, a physical education teacher at the school, was the school's boys' soccer coach through the 2011 season, but is no longer on the sidelines for the Mustangs this season.
While attending Rowan University in Glassboro in 2005, Martinelli was a first-team selection to the New Jersey Athletic Conference's Men's Soccer All-Conference Team.
In August of this year, he was on the staff of a soccer academy at Williamstown High School for girls ages 13-18.
Logandro, 32, a math teacher at Triton, was the school's girls' track coach as of the end of the spring 2012 season. Before coming to Triton, Logandro was a math teacher at Cherry Hill East High School.
Michielli, 27, also a math teacher, was Triton's Class of 2012 adviser.
Gloucester Township Police Department was not involved in the investigation.
Triton is part of the Black Horse Pike Regional School District. The school draws students from three Camden County towns: Bellmawr, Gloucester Township and Runnemede, where the school is located. About 1,600 students attend Triton.
Stay with Gloucester Township Patch for more on this unfolding story, including student reactions to the arrests.
(Patch editors Lauren Burgoon, Bryan Littel, Christina Paciolla and Tim Zatzariny Jr. contributed to this report.)