UPDATED: MTHS teacher faces sexual assault charges

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Joseph Towns Joseph Towns Board of Education releases statement

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE - A Middle Township High School teacher faces multiple criminal charges, including sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, law enforcement officials said Tuesday, July 22.

Joseph Towns, 34 of Bayshore Road in North Cape May, surrendered to law enforcement at about 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to a press release from the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office. Bail was set at $175,000 cash.

According to Superintendent David Salvo, Towns has been a teacher with the district since 2005, and served as assistant to the Mock Trial coach.

Towns was taken into custody, and Judge John C. Porto set the all-cash bond. In the release, the prosecutor said Towns was processed and sent to county jail, where he posted bail.

According to the release, Towns has been charged with sexual assault, a second degree crime, endangering the welfare of a child, a second degree crime, criminal sexual contact, a fourth degree crime, official misconduct, a second degree crime, possession of child pornography, a third degree crime, and “Obscenity of persons under 18,” a third degree crime.

Officials allege that Towns committed these crimes against a Middle Township High School student from October 2012 through October of 2013, while he had supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim. The actions allegedly took place while he was an English teacher at Middle Township High School.

Prosecutor Taylor said that those convicted of second-degree crime are subject to five to 10 years in prison; those convicted of a third-degree crime face three to five years in prison.

The Middle Township Board of Education released a statement late Tuesday acknowledging charges filed against one of its teachers. According to the statement, the board learned that Joseph Towns, an English teacher, was charged by the county Prosectuor's office.

According to the statement: "While all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty, when the board was first advised of the investigation it suspended Mr. Towns from his position and removed him from any contact with students.

"The board will continue to monitor the situation and conduct its own investigation. The board is committed to continuing to work in the best interest of our children and to provide an excellent education in a healthy and safe environment.

"The board urges any one with questions regarding this situation or anyone with any information regarding any alleged inappropriate conduct of any Middle Township staff member to contact Superintendent Dr. David Salvo, at 609-465-1800."


 

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