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Ex-Conn. Priest Who Impregnated Student Can Keep Teaching Job, Says Court

Gerald Herbert

A New Jersey court has ruled a teacher can’t be terminated for his conduct as a priest in Connecticut nearly 30 years ago.

Joseph DeShan had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl in 1988 when he was with the Roman Catholic Diocese in Bridgeport. He impregnated the girl when she was 16 and left the priesthood four years later.

But the story didn’t become public until 2002, when he was a middle school teacher in New Jersey. The school suspended him for three weeks. Then he went back to work.

Last year a student reported DeShan made her uncomfortable when he referred to her pretty green eyes. The judge ruled that comment was hearsay and couldn’t be verified. The judge also said DeShan couldn’t be fired for conduct from before he was hired – and for which he’d already been punished.


Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.