Judge refuses to dismiss charges in Dufault case

MAPLEWOOD / SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Yet again, a Superior Court judge has rejected a bid from a former Maplewood teacher to dismiss charges that she sexually assaulted six male students.

Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin on Feb. 29 denied a motion from Nicole Dufault to reconsider his Dec. 18, 2015, ruling that denied her motion to dismiss the 40-count indictment issued against her by a grand jury more than a year ago.

Dufault’s attorney, Timothy Smith, has argued that the charges should be thrown out due to a seeming lack of proper procedure — but Ravin is not having any of it.

According to court documents, Dufault, 36, of Caldwell, a former language arts teacher at Columbia High School in Maplewood is charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with six male students on multiple occasions between July 2013 and August 2014.

According to prosecutors, the students were between ages 14 and 15 at the time of the incidents.

The alleged sex acts occurred in Dufault’s classroom and in her car — including one alleged incident in which one student recorded a video on his cell phone of Dufault performing oral sex on another student in her car, court documents state.

Smith has asserted Dufault suffers from frontal lobe syndrome, which he claims left her vulnerable to the students’ “over-aggressive behavior.” According to the defense, Dufault developed the syndrome after brain surgery she underwent following complications due to her first pregnancy.

These charges are merely accusations. All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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