Prosecutor: Leonia Phys Ed Teacher Had 'Inappropriate Sexual Relationship' With Student

UPDATE: A Leonia High School physical education teacher was arrested after authorities learned of an "inappropriate sexual relationship" with a student, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said Friday. 

Samantha Krakower
Samantha Krakower Photo Credit: INSET: BCPO / Seidenstud CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Samantha Krakower, who turned 24 on Wednesday, was charged with second-degree sexual assault by someone with “supervisory or disciplinary power” over a victim 16 to 17 years old, he said.

Krakower, a former high school and college softball standout who lives in Palisades Park, also was charged with criminal sexual contact and child endangerment.

She remained held in the county lockup Friday pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.

Borough police were notified by the school that Krakower, who teaches physical education and health, had been "engaging in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student," Musella said.

Detectives from his Special Victims Unit and the borough department then learned that Krakower, who is also a softball coach and basketball coach at Leonia High School, "started the inappropriate relationship earlier this school year,"  the prosecutor said.

Schools Supt. Ed Bertolini called the arrest a "very troubling situation."

Krakower has been suspended "pending adjudication of the criminal charges" and is "restrained from being on any of the schools' campuses," he said Friday. 

"While these are pending charges and there has been no adjudication of guilt, the notification of these charges is of great concern to the Leonia Board of Education and the entire Leonia community," Bertolini wrote in a release.

Krakower played softball all four years at Kean University before graduating last year and, before that, for Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi.

She'd previously been a counselor at Wood Park Summer Camp, which is operated by the Leonia Recreation Department for 1st- to 8th-graders.

Without identifying Krakower by name, Bertolini said that administrators have "reconfigured existing staff to cover the teacher's physical education and health classes."

The board and his staff are "working closely with law enforcement as their investigation proceeds and remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students," the superintendent said.

Counseling will be available at the high school on Monday for anyone who needs it, he added.

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