Hearing In Former Teacher’s Sex Assault Case

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Matthew Swajkowski (Booking photo via Essex County Prosecutor’s Office)

Matthew Swajkowski, the former Verona High School teacher who was arrested last September and charged with sexual assault on a minor, was in a Newark courthouse this morning for a hearing in the case. But instead of reviewing a plea deal, the presiding judge continued the case to Tuesday, April 30, because there is a motion pending before the court. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office (ECPO) did not give details on the nature of the motion.

Swajkowski was brought into the courtroom briefly just after noon time. He was dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and had his hands handcuffed behind his back. He did not look at his mother, who was in the audience. Swajkowski was represented by Ronald Ricci of Ricci & Fava.

According to the original ECPO statement on Swajkowski’s arrest, the 12 charges against him included sexual conduct with a minor and purposely or knowingly offering or serving or making available an alcoholic beverage to a person under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages.

Swajkowski had last appeared in court on Thursday, February 9, when Judge Carolyn Wright have given his lawyer and Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Sherry Stembridge until April 1 to present a plea. At that time, Stembridge indicated that the ECPO was eyeing an eight-year sentence, a requirement to register as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law and the loss of Swajkowski’s teaching license.

Swajkowski’s appearances at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark have been delayed multiple times without explanation. The ECPO arrested Swajkowski last September at his then home in Verona after an investigation by the Verona Police Department.

Defendants in any matter reported on in MyVeronaNJ are presumed innocent until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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