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Teacher pleads guilty to charges in connection with taking inappropriate photos, videos of female students at Pope John XXIII and Reverend Brown school

NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) – A teacher has pled guilty to charges that resulted from his illegal recording of students while teaching at Pope John XXIII and Reverend Brown schools, according to Acting Sussex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray.

Michael F. Wagner, 41, pled guilty last week to first-degree child endangerment and second-degree manufacturing of child sexual abuse before the Hon. Michael C. Gaus, J.S.C. This resolution includes the forfeiture of his NJ teaching license, Murray said.

A joint investigation by the Sparta Police Department Detective Bureau and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit and High Tech Crimes Unit began on Oct. 12, 2022 when a teacher at Pope John in Sparta Township overheard several 8th grade female students talking about their teacher, Wagner, recording them during class, Murray said.

Sparta Township police initially responded to the school and during the course of the investigation, police found hundreds of videos and pictures of numerous students taken by Wagner who would position the electronic device in such a way as to capture and record the underclothing of female students, Murray said.

A forensic review of Wagner’s personal electronic devices also found he possessed, viewed, or had under his control items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children, Murray said.

Wagner is scheduled to be sentenced on July 26.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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