Accused of assaulting a student, a former New Jersey teacher reaches a plea agreement

OCEAN CITY — A former Ocean City High School teacher accused of assaulting a student on the last day of school has been sentenced after accepting a plea deal.

Ricardo Valle, 35, was sentenced July 25 to five years in state prison after pleading guilty to a single count of endangering the welfare of a child. Cape May County District Attorney Jeffrey Sutherland said the educator admitted to “having had sex with a student.”

Authorities arrested Valle last year and charged him with two counts of second-degree sexual assault, among other offenses. Since quitting his job at Ocean City High School in July 2016, Valle had moved to Seabrook, Texas, and taken up another teaching job at a school in Houston.

According to a criminal complaint, Valle made contact with the 17-year-old student during an overnight school trip to Washington in March 2016. He was accused of putting her head between her buttocks.

After the trip, the complaint said Valle wrote the student’s notes excusing her from classes on at least ten occasions. She would go into the choir room where he would rub her buttocks, play with her bra strap and put his arm around her, according to the complaint.

On the last day of the school year, Valle told his choir students that he was leaving to pursue a master’s degree and asked the victim to stay. The complaint said Valle took off her shirt and forced the student to perform a sex act, but she managed to get away.

As part of the plea deal, Valle lost his teaching certificate. Upon his release from prison, he will have to register under Megan’s Law and have no contact with the student.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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