My Central Jersey has reported that a teacher plead guilty to engaging in a sexual relationship with a student at Rutgers Preparatory School located at 1345 Easton Ave, Somerset, NJ 08873.
Matthew Rennie, a 30-year-old former history teacher and assistant coach at the private school, pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. However, a fellow coach, Ranait Griff, is also facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child for failing to report the inappropriate relationship. The two grew closer in 2019 after the then-sophomore confided to the coach that she was suffering emotional abuse from another coach. They would frequently call and text each other, which was not uncommon for students and coaches in the prep school. Remmie would have breakfast with the student and her friends during first period.
By March 2021, communication between the two had increased, and the teacher began expressing his love for the student. The relationship was said to have become physical back in April of 2021 when the teacher kissed the student for the first time on the Easton Avenue campus. An ongoing lawsuit claims that the two began to have sex at Rennie's house and in his car during that summer. Additionally, the two had sex on the Rutgers Prep campus twice in September of 2021, including in his classroom. Griff became aware of the relationship around March but rather than report the misconduct, she told the student that they were “seriously adorable” before inquiring about when it would "start being physical?”
Rennie was arrested on October 6, 2021, after the student's parents learned of the relationship. Griff was also arrested for failing to report the misconduct. Soon after the arrests, the school fired both teachers. An investigation has been initiated to determine if the school fostered an environment that encouraged grooming and offensive sexual conduct.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents preparatory school sex abuse victims and their families in New Jersey. During a recent interview, Brian shared the legal rights available for victims to seek justice for sexual misconduct.
"Recent headlines have shone a light on the issue of students being sexually assaulted by private school coaches and teachers, and the lack of legal protections for victims of such abuse. As a society, we must do better to protect young people from these devastating experiences and ensure that their rights are safeguarded."
"Victims of such abuse have the right to pursue legal action against both the coach and the school. Additionally, victims may have the right to file a complaint with the school board if the school failed to ensure their safety on campus."
"School coaches are subject to the same laws as any other school employee. This means they are subject to the same anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation laws that apply to any workplace. They must undergo a background check to ensure they do not have a history of misconduct. Additionally, school officials and other staff have a duty to report any misconduct for investigation. If a school is found to be in violation of these laws, victims may be able to pursue legal action."
"It is essential that victims seek out legal assistance from a knowledgeable school sex abuse attorney who can help protect their rights. No one should have to suffer the trauma of being sexually assaulted by a school coach, and it is crucial that we continue to fight for the rights of victims. By working together, we can ensure that victims of abuse are given the justice and legal protections they deserve."