New Jersey District Settles Sex Abuse Lawsuit Involving Former Teacher For $6 Million

WINSLOW TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A southern New Jersey school district will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit brought by two students who claim they were sexually assaulted for years by a former high school teacher.

The male students had filed separate lawsuits weeks apart alleging they were assaulted by Nicholas Zaccaria, a social studies and history teacher at Edgewood High School, which is now known as Winslow Township High School, between 1998 and 2003. Zaccaria was also a theater adviser, and the students took part as teens in the stage crew club.

Both men claimed they were targeted by Zaccaria for sex abuse. They said he took them separately to dinner at fancy steakhouses and Italian restaurants and gave them money from the stage crew’s petty cash account.

The Winslow Board of Education approved the settlements in December, without any admission of liability. District Superintendent H. Major Poteat and Matthew J. Behr, a Mount Laurel lawyer who represented the district, declined to comment on the settlement, as did Zaccaria.

“These are important settlements,” John Baldante, a Haddonfield attorney who represented the two students, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. He said each man will receive $3 million in a structured settlement.

“These victims of child sex abuse now have a voice,” Baldante said.