🔴At a school board meeting this week, parents accused a teacher of molesting their daughter at school last month

🔴The teacher was charged Friday with a misdemeanor offense

MARLBORO — A Memorial Middle School teacher was charged Friday with harassment after officials say she inappropriately touched a 13-year-old student in school.

The charge relating to an incident that happened a month ago was announced three days after the parents of the girl made an impassioned speech at a Board of Education meeting, describing the incident in the hallway as molestation.

Marlboro Police Capt. Stephen Levy said on Friday that the incident involved Jenna Sciabica touching a student over her clothing in a hallway on March 13.

Levy said the incident was seen by another staff member and occurred while school was in session. School administrators immediately notified police, according to the statement, and Sciabica was placed on leave. She will not be returning to the school, according to Levy.

The teacher, however, has not been charged with a serious sex crime. The harassment charge is a petty disorderly persons offense, or a low-level misdemeanor, which means the teacher will not face possible indictment by a grand jury and the charges will be heard in Municipal Court.

"Once Marlboro police were notified of the incident, we immediately began a thorough and comprehensive investigation. The investigation included interviews, reviewing footage of school security cameras, gathering written statements and examining all the evidence presented in this case," Levy said in the statement.

"Given the nature of the incident, the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office was made aware and kept fully apprised of the investigation and its progress."

During a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, the girl's parents angrily claimed that Sciabica molested their daughter. According to the parents and their attorney, the incident was captured on video and witnessed by another teacher, who reported it.

The family’s attorney said the law enforcement response was disappointing.

"The police release seems to conflict with the position taken by the board’s attorney, which was that the victim’s parents didn’t report the incident for over a week,” Nima Ameri, Esq., said Friday. “In fact, the detective investigating the case contacted the victim’s mother, asking for messages Wednesday, messages that were provided to him weeks ago and he ‘couldn't find.’ If they call asking for evidence they had received weeks before, only after the victim’s family went public, ‘thorough and comprehensive’ we feel bad for the residents they are entrusted to protect and serve."

ALSO READ: 'She molested my daughter at school!'

Mom blasts NJ district as meeting

Parents address Marlboro Board of Education 4/16/24
Parents address Marlboro Board of Education 4/16/24 (Marlboro Township School District via YouTube)

Parents say police were not immediately notified

The family's attorney contends that administrators did not immediately inform authorities or remove the teacher from the school. Nor did they call the parents until hours later, allowing the girl to remain in the teacher's classroom.

The attorney said the parents were forced to air the incident at a public meeting because the school district's attorney essentially blamed the parents for allowing the teacher to have contact with their children as a tutor.

The Board of Education's agenda for their April 16 meeting identified Sciabica as a teacher of students with disabilities. She submitted her resignation with the board recommending it be accepted "with regret." The effective date of the resignation is listed as March 22.

New Jersey 101.5 is not identifying the parents in order to protect the privacy of a minor who may have been a victim of a crime.

ALSO READ: Marlboro, NJ schools get another threat, start of classes delayed

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