10-Year Prison Minimum Awaits NJ Catholic School Teacher Who Took Upskirts Of Girls In Class

UPDATE: A North Jersey school teacher who took upskirt photos and videos of female students faces at least 10 years in state prison when he’s sentenced next month.

Michael F. Wagner

Michael F. Wagner

Photo Credit: Sussex County Correctional / Google StreetView (background)

Michael F. Wagner, 41, of Hopatcong took a deal from prosecutors rather than risk the potential outcome of a trial, admitting that he recorded female 8th graders of his at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta during class and collected child porn.

In order to secure the agreement – and whatever leniency may come at his July 26 sentencing in Newton -- Wagner had to plead guilty earlier this month to first-degree child endangerment and second-degree manufacturing of child sexual abuse materials.

The first-degree endangerment conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in state prison, and up to 20 years.

The second-degree conviction requires a minimum of five years in prison, although the judge will most likely allow it be served concurrently (at the same time) instead of in addition to the primary sentence.

Wagner will also have to surrender his teaching license, register as Megan’s Law offender and be under court supervision for a time to be determined by the judge.

It began after a teacher overheard several students talking about the illegal recordings and went to the authorities.

A joint investigation by the Sparta Police Department Detective Bureau and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims and High Tech Crime units began in October 2022.

“During the course of the investigation, police found hundreds of videos and pictures of numerous students taken by Wagner who would position the electronic device in such a way as to capture and record the underclothing of female students,” according to a joint release issued by Acting Sussex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, Chief of Detectives Thomas McCormick and Sparta Police Chief Jeff McCarrick

“A forensic review of Wagner’s personal electronic devices also found he possessed, viewed, or had under his control items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children,” they said.

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