A former Lyndhurst schoolteacher will serve five years in prison after pleading guilty on Wednesday to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student at a Jersey City charter school in 2015.
At a Superior Court plea hearing in Hackensack, Lauren Mitchell acknowledged in tears that she had had sex with an eighth-grade girl while she was teaching in grade two at the University of Toronto. School of Dr. Lena Edwards Academic Charter School in Jersey City.
"Do you acknowledge that these acts were emotionally and morally damaging to this woman?" Asked Mitchell's lawyer, John Latoracca, during Wednesday's plea hearing.
"Yes," replied Mitchell, with her husband looking out of the courthouse.
His lawyer declined to comment after the hearing.
The two started by exchanging explicit texts during the 2014-15 school year. Later in the year, their interactions became physical. Mitchell committed a sexual act on the girl on at least one occasion, Mitchell admitted.
Rather than proceed to trial, Mitchell, 36, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and endangering the well-being of a child.
Plea bargaining includes a five-year sentence in a state prison and lifetime supervision, and requires Mitchell to be registered as a sex offender in accordance with Megan's law. She must give up her teacher's license and she is forbidden to hold public office.
Mitchell will be sentenced on August 2nd.
Mitchell lived in Lyndhurst when charter teachers reported inappropriate behavior between teacher and student during a class trip to Washington, D.C.
She was arrested in June 2015 and later released on bail of $ 150,000. A month later, Mitchell was brought back to court for allegedly attempting to call and text the teenager. In one text, she used a pet name that she had for the girl. The judge added $ 50,000 to Mitchell's bail, which she posted.