Joseph DeShan, a former Catholic priest who impregnated a 14-year-old girl during his time in the Church, will be allowed to continue teaching at the middle school where he has taught since 1996, an arbitrator decided, according to the New York Post.
The former reverend, age 59, began his role as a teacher for the Cinnaminson, New Jersey school district six years after he raped and impregnated the teen at his Bridgeport, Connecticut parish rectory. Officials did not learn of the incident until 2002, when he received a three-week suspension prior to returning to school.
But last year, DeShan came under scrutiny once again after he allegedly made an uncomfortable comment about a 12-year-old student’s “pretty green eyes.”
“Look at me,” he allegedly said. “Let me see your pretty green eyes. You don’t see them too much anymore.”
The ruling states that DeShan supposedly made the comments in a “weird voice,” and parents requested to remove their children from his instruction in light of his “conduct unbecoming of a staff member” in December.
While parents expressed intense discomfort over their children being in the same classroom as a “rapist” and :pedophile,” Department of Education arbitrator Walt De Treux ruled that the comments were hearsay.
“The [Board of Education] … insinuates that the comment was laced with improper intentions and sexual connotations,” De Treux wrote. “Yet it provides no non-hearsay evidence of the basis for that implication.”