Crime

N.J. Teacher Re-Arrested For Allegedly Contacting 15-Year-Old Sexual Assault Victim

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

In June, second-grade teacher Lauren H. Mitchell was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child after she was accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old female student who attended the school she worked at in Jersey City, New Jersey.

On July 17, Mitchell was back in court for allegedly trying to contact her victim, which violated her bail conditions, NJ.com reported. Mitchell, 32, reportedly called the teen from a restricted number twice and sent her a one-word text message — the “pet name” Mitchell gave her, according to The Record.

With the help of a search warrant, investigators determined Mitchell had done research on how to hide her phone number and downloaded an application so her number could be unlisted. Mitchell allegedly searched for the teen’s phone number, according to Demetra Maurice, chief of the sex crimes unit in the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

Mitchell was re-arrested on the contempt charge Thursday.

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Her attorney, John F. Latoracca, defended his client, saying she may have simply had “a moment of poor judgment.”

He blamed this lapse of judgment on the stress of Mitchell’s recent arrest and being placed on leave from work — she suffers from anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder and has been under a doctor’s care. He added that Mitchell has not attempted to contact the victim in the three weeks since the alleged communication took place.

Maurice asked Judge James J. Guida to revoke Mitchell’s bail on the earlier sexual assault case or hold her without bail on the contempt of court charge. Instead, he set bail on the contempt charge at $50,000 with no 10 percent cash option.

Guida warned Mitchell’s firefighter husband, Matthew, that bail would be revoked if there were any more violations. 

Sources: The Record, NJ.com

Photo Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office via The Record