Former 'teacher of the year' denies sex with student

The attorney for an Essex County teacher has entered a not guilty plea on her behalf over charges she had sex with a 15-year-old former

NEWARK - The attorney for an Essex County teacher has entered a not guilty plea on her behalf over charges she had sex with a 15-year-old former student.

Erica DePalo is facing charges of sexual assault and child endangerment. The 33-year-old Montclair resident is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy whom she taught honors English. Prosecutors say DePalo started the affair in June and only recently ended it.

DePalo has been indefinitely suspended from her teaching job at West Orange High School.

She was named the Essex County "Teacher of the Year" in 2011.

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