EDISON – Police have arrested a fifth-grade school teacher and high school swim coach on charges of having sexual relations with a 17-year-old female student since June of this year, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan announced today.
Sarah E. Blessing, 27 of South Plainfield, was arrested at her home on Dec. 1, and was charged with sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of the child. Blessing is currently incarcerated at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick.
Bail has been set at $150,000, with no 10 percent, by Superior Court Judge James Mulvihill, who ordered the defendant to have no contact with the victim.
Blessing has been teaching fifth grade at Park Middle School in Scotch Plains since 2005, officials said. She has also been a swim coach at the Bishop George Ahr High School in Edison since 2005. The Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District has suspended her with pay, while the Diocese of Metuchen has terminated Blessing’s employment, effective today, authorities said.
Blessing was arrested and charged after an investigation by Investigator Raj Chopra of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Detective Michael Michalski and Detective Tim Farrell of the Edison Police Department determined that Blessing had a sexual relationship with the Bishop Ahr student beginning in approximately June 2009, authorities said.
The investigation began yesterday, after the matter was brought to the attention of law enforcement by the Diocese of Metuchen.
Authorities ask anyone with information to call Chopra at 1-732-745-3600, or Michalski or Farrell at 1-732-248-7525.
Authorities noted that the charges against Blessing are merely accusations and she is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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