NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — A New Jersey high school teacher who oversaw the chess club is accused of sexually assaulting a student, authorities said Wednesday.
Matthew Swajkowski, 36, a teacher at Verona High School, was arrested Friday and charged with sexual assault, sexual conduct with a minor, and endangering the welfare of a child, prosecutors said.
The student was a member of the chess club, authorities said. The student’s age was unclear.
“While the age of consent in New Jersey is 16, it is unlawful for anyone whose “legal, professional or occupational status” gives them “supervisory or disciplinary power” over a child who is at least 16 but less than 18 years old to engage in sexual conduct with that child,” prosecutors said.
Swajkowski was also charged with purposely or knowingly offering, serving or making available an alcoholic beverage to a person under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages, authorities said.
Swajkoswski is currently on administrative leave, according to Diane DiGiuseppe, superintendent of Verona Public Schools.
“The accusations against and subsequent arrest of a staff member are extremely distressing. The district takes any accusation of inappropriate conduct by a staff member seriously, cooperates with law enforcement authorities, and takes personnel action as permitted by law,” DiGiuseppe said in a statement to PIX11 News.
Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.