8:59 PM EDT, September 12, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. -- A woman recently named teacher of the year is facing sex charges after allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old boy.
Erica DePalo, 33, of Montclair, plead not guilty Wednesday to aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and child endangerment charges.
Prosecutors say the boy was enrolled in DePalo's honors English class and the two carried a "sexual relationship" from June until recently.
DePalo has been indefinitely suspended from her job teaching English at West Orange High School, according to school officials.
DePalo was named Essex County's teacher of the year in 2011.
Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Gigi Scoles declined to comment on how the case had been brought to the attention of authorities, citing the ongoing investigation.
DePalo remains free on $100,000 bail and is due back in court October 22.