Details Emerge in Case Against Jackson School Teacher Arrested Thursday
Jackson–The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office today has provided a copy of the complaint against Michael D. Carattini, 29, of Duchess Court in Toms River. According to the complaint, signed by Detective Mitch Cowit of the Jackson Police Department, Carattini, a teacher of the 13 year old victim, “having assumed the responsibility for the care of [the victim]…engage in sexual conduct which impaired or debauched the morals of the victim”.
Carattini is accused by the Jackson Township Police Department of engaging in conversation of a sexual manner with the victim and of requesting and receiving nude photographs of the victim engaged in sexual acts.
Detective Cowitt’s complaint states that Mr. Carattini knew the victim’s age and caused or permitted the victim to engage in a sexual act.
Per the Honorable Municipal Court Judge Daniel Sahin, Carattini is not to have any contact with the victim.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office issued the following release on Thursday, October 24:
Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford today announced that child endangerment and official misconduct charges have been filed against a Toms River man employed as a music teacher by the Jackson Township School District.
Prosecutor Ford said, “Our complaints allege that while employed as a teacher in the Jackson Township school district, Michael D. Carattini, 29, Toms River, engaged in an inappropriate relationship in the form of internet and e-mail communications with a 14 year old student. The communications were of a sexually explicit nature. The complaints do not allege any physical contact between the defendant and the victim. At this time, the allegations are related to inappropriate electronic communications, which would constitute violations of the child endangerment statute.
“The abuse allegedly occurred about five years ago when the victim was about 14 years old, and a student of the defendant in the school district. The victim, whose identity will not be disclosed, is now over the age of 18 and is no longer a student in the district. Due to the supervisory relationship of the defendant over the victim, and his status as a public employee, official misconduct charges have also been filed,” said Prosecutor Ford.
“These allegations were first brought to the attention of the Jackson Township Police Department by the Superintendent of the Jackson Township School District. As a result of the filing of these charges, the Jackson Township Board of Education has suspended the defendant with pay from his current employment as a tenured teacher in the district,” said Prosecutor Ford. Questions about the defendant’s employment status are referred to the employer, the Jackson Township Board of Education.
“The defendant has been charged with one count of child endangerment, in the first degree; one count of child endangerment, second degree, as well as one count of official misconduct. Bail was set by Municipal Court Judge Daniel F. Sahin in the amount of $150,000, no ten percent option, and the defendant is currently released on bail. As a condition of bail, the defendant is prohibited from having any contact with the victim, including written, oral or electronic communications,” said Prosecutor Ford.
“This is a continuing investigation. If any member of the public has information relating to this investigation, they are encouraged to contact the lead investigators on this matter, Detective Mitch Cowit of the Jackson Township Police Department, 732-928-3012, or Det. Jay Dotto of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office, High Tech Crimes Unit, at 732-929-2027.
Carattini was charged with the following:
2C:24-4a. Endangering the Welfare of Children.
Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who [choose appropriate] engage[s] in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of a child . . . or who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child . . . is guilty of a crime.
2C:24-4b(3) Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
A person commits a crime of the second degree if he causes or permits a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act if the person knows, has reason to know or intends that the prohibited act may be photographed, filmed, reproduced, or reconstructed in any manner, including on the Internet, or may be part of an exhibition or performance. If the person is a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of the child, the person shall be guilty of a crime of the first degree.