A New Jersey teacher who left the priesthood after impregnating a 16-year-old is still allowed to teach children.
According to reports, Joseph DeShan, 59, began working at the Cinnaminson School District in 1996, two years after leaving the priesthood and six years after impregnating an underage girl.
In 2002, a Connecticut newspaper reported on DeShan’s relationship with the minor. Subsequently, school district officials placed him on administrative leave stating they were unaware he was once a priest or that he impregnated a teenager. Yet despite his past conduct, he was able to return to his job less than a month later.
In December 2018, the board tried to file tenure charges against DeShan with the New Jersey Commissioner of Education. The charges focused on his sexual relationship with a teen and inappropriate comments he allegedly made to a 12-year-old girl.
“Look at me. Let me see your pretty green eyes. You don’t see them too much anymore,” he supposedly told a child.
However, an arbitrator argued that the comment DeShan was accused of making is pure “hearsay” and taken out of context. The arbitrator also stated DeShan shouldn’t lose his job based upon actions committed 16 years ago that school district was aware of.
“In the tenure charges, the (board) is not alleging that (DeShan) has engaged in any other past conduct other than the pre-employment conduct,” the ruling said. “The fact that some parents now demand his removal from the classroom does not give the (board) a second opportunity to revisit pre-employment conduct of which it has been long aware.”
Per the school’s website, DeShan currently teaches a sixth-grade reading class.