• A physical education teacher at Jersey City’s Dickinson High School has been charged with sexual assault 
  • He is currently being held in Hudson County Jail 
  • Teacher-student sex charges have surged in recent years in NJ

A physical education teacher at Jersey City’s Dickinson High School has been charged with sexual assault of one of the school’s 17-year-old students.

NJ Advance Media reports that 43-year-old Francisco “Mike” Realpe was taken into custody after being arrested at his Hoboken residence on Monday. The totality of charges facing him include aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Realpe’s alleged crimes were first reported to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office on Jan. 31, after which there was a brief investigation followed by the subsequent arrest. He has been working for the school since 2005 and currently draws an annual salary of $84,019, according to payroll records.

According to Norma Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the Jersey City Board of Education, Realpe was removed from the school once the allegations surfaced, but he remains employed pending the outcome of the investigation. There has been no word on where the alleged sexual assault took place, and the identity of the victim is being kept from the public record to preserve their privacy.

Realpe remains in Kearny’s Hudson County Jail pending his first upcoming court appearance. There was no word on the previous nature of Realpe and the victim’s relationship or whether or not they were a student of the accused educator. There was no word on whether or not Realpe has retained a lawyer who could speak on his behalf, or what his reaction to the charges were.

The school has not publicly commented on the case except to say that Realpe is still employed pending the result of the inquiry. New Jersey has a seen spike in student-teacher sex charges over the past few years. From 2014 through 2017, Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (SESAME) was alerted of 70 such teacher arrests in the Garden State, and nearly 2,200 nationwide.

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