Teacher charged with sex assault of Shore student

Prosecutor says activities
took place at pools

Staff Writer

Prosecutor says activities
took place at pools
Staff Writer

A male teacher and coach at Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch has been charged with engaging in a longtime sexual relationship with a female student at the school.

Monmouth County Prosecutor John A. Kaye said Bill O’Leary of Manasquan was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor. He said the sexual activities began when the girl was 14 and have continued until the present.

The girl, who is now 18, graduated from the high school this past year and is going to college this fall, according to Kaye. She is a resident of West Long Branch.

Kaye said O’Leary is married with two children.

Leonard G. Schnappauf, superintendent/principal of Shore Regional, said O’Leary teaches physical education and basic skills math. He said O’Leary also is head boys baseball coach, head boys basketball coach and had been assistant football coach in the past but wasn’t taking on that job this fall.

Schnappauf said O’Leary had been on the faculty at Shore Regional for three years after coming over to the high school from the Frank Antonides School in West Long Branch, one of the four towns that feed students into Shore Regional.

The girl O’Leary is accused of assaulting attended Frank Antonides, a school housing grades four through eight, while he was there.

Kaye said O’Leary was one of her teachers at Frank Antonides.

The Shore Regional High School Board of Education was holding a special meeting Tuesday night to determine O’Leary’s status, according to Schnappauf. Asked if O’Leary would be suspended at that time, the superintendent said on Monday that he knew what he was going to recommend to the board but could not say in advance what that would be.

Because the board extended new contracts for the upcoming school year to O’Leary and other teachers in April, only the board could remove him, Schnappauf said. He said that he, as superintendent, did not have the power to do it.

Schnappauf spoke highly of O’Leary’s abilities as a teacher and coach.

"His classroom skills and his coaching skills have been outstand­ing," Schnappauf said. "He has dedicated himself to Shore Re­gional. He has given unselfishly of his time to the school.

"Both the baseball and basket­ball teams have been very, very successful under Mr. O’Leary," Schnappauf added.

The superintendent said his ad­ministrative staff had been advised of the situation with O’Leary and all classes will be covered by certi­fied staff.

The board knew nothing about the charges against O’Leary when it met for its monthly workshop and regular meeting last Thursday, the night that O’Leary was arrested. Kaye said he called Alexis Tucci, the board’s attorney, on Friday morning to inform him of O’Leary’s arrest, and Peter Short, a detective in the prosecutor’s office, called Schnappauf that morning to tell him.

Kaye said the aggravated sexual assault count arose from O’Leary’s relationship with the girl from when she was 13-16 years old and is a first-degree crime, punishable upon conviction by 10 to 15 years in prison.

He said the sexual assault count arose from O’Leary’s relationship with the girl from when she was 16 until she turned 18 and is a second-degree crime, punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

He said endangering the welfare of a minor also is a second-degree crime, punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

Kaye said the aggravated sexual assault charge rose to the level of a first-degree crime because the ac­cused had supervisory authority over the girl in his role as a teacher. If he were a stranger, the charge wouldn’t have risen to the first de­gree, he said.

"These are not strangers," he said. "They are teacher and student."

When the girl graduated from Frank Antonides, where O’Leary was teaching, Kaye said, O’Leary put in for a transfer to the high school where she was headed.

Kaye said the girl worked for O’Leary during the summer at a couple of swimming pools that he managed. He said the pools were at the Stonehurst development in Freehold Township and the Strath­more complex in Matawan.

"He hired her to work there in the summers," Kaye said. "Most of the sexual activities took place there."

Asked if the sex was consensual, Kaye said not at the age that she was. He said the girl couldn’t give consent while that young.

"I can say," Kaye added, "he didn’t use physical force to coerce her."

In years past, before the names of many crimes were changed, it would be called statutory rape, he said.

Kaye said the investigation is continuing and search warrants have been issued for records of phone calls and merchandise pur­chases.

Kaye said bail for O’Leary was set at $85,000, which he made.