A teacher suspended from Kingsway Regional High School in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County, was found guilty yesterday of trying to persuade a 17-year-old female student to recant statements about the girl's sexual relationship with another teacher.
Emma Painter, 46, a tenured physical education teacher and field hockey coach at the time of the May 2007 offense, is scheduled to be sentenced by Superior Court Judge M. Christine Allen-Jackson on Feb. 13.
Painter, of Clayton, faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 10 years in New Jersey state prison on the misconduct conviction. She could receive up to five years on the witness-tampering verdict.
Judge Allen-Jackson continued Painter's $10,000 bail pending sentencing. She conducted a non-jury trial of the charges three weeks ago and rendered her verdict yesterday.
The student whom Painter tried to influence acknowledged having a consensual sexual relationship with Erica Umosella, another Kingsway health and physical education teacher.
Umosella, 29, of Glassboro, pleaded guilty to having the relationship during the 2006-07 school year and has been sentenced to probation.
Judge Allen-Jackson said Painter tried to convince the student, through conversation and notes, that she held Umosella's job and freedom in her hands.
Painter did not ask the student whether the relationship actually occurred, but "told [the student] what she should do get Miss Umosella out of jail," the judge said.
Senior Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Audrey Curwin, said the case was about "protection of children from undue - and criminal - influences by those responsible for their supervision and education."