Jeannette teacher’s admission to sex with student can be used at trial, judge rules
A confession from a former Jeannette High School teacher charged with having sex with a student can be used against her at an upcoming trial, a Westmoreland County judge ruled Wednesday.
Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger in a seven-page opinion determined that statements made by Maria Chappell as she was questioned by school administrators about her relationship with the 16-year-old male in 2016 can be presented to a jury.
Police said Chappell, 40, of Mt. Pleasant, had sexual encounters with the teen in her classroom and in a local motel and that she confessed when confronted by the school’s principal. She is charged with four felony counts including having sexual contact with a student.
Krieger ruled that Chappell knew her participation in the questioning, conducted in Principal Patricia Rozycki’s office in the presence of a union representative, was voluntary and that she was not in police custody at the time.
During a pretrial hearing last month, Chappell’s attorney, Jeff Monzo, argued that her confession was illegally obtained and that school officials acted in a law enforcement capacity during the questioning.
Chappell’s trial has not been scheduled.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or email@example.com.