Nataly Lopez, a 27-year-old New Jersey middle school teacher, has been charged with sexual assault after being accused of having sexual relations with one of her male students.
According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, Lopez, 27, of Elizabeth, New Jersey has been charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Lopez taught at Nicholas S. LaCorte-Peterstown School No. 3, but was employed by Source4Teachers, a private company that hires substitute teachers for the school district. Union County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Tomlinson said that Lopez engaged in sexual acts with the student in her vehicle on two separate occasions and exchanged sexual messages with him online.
Lopez was arrested at her home Thursday afternoon and appeared in court Friday to face her charges, prosecutors said. She will have a detention hearing next week.
Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer said the district barred Lopez from entering any school immediately after they heard about the allegations.
“Law enforcement and social service agencies were notified, as was the substitute’s employer,” Hugelmeyer said in a statement.
A spokesman for Source4Teachers said they fully cooperating with law enforcement and that Lopez has been blocked from working in their partner school districts until the investigation has concluded.
If convicted on her charges, Lopez faces between 10 and 20 years in prison.
Authorities are asking anyone with further information about the case to call Detective Janet Lopez at 908-347-8491.