Nataly Lopez, a 27-year-old middle school teacher in New Jersey, is accused of having sexual relations with a student.
The allegations against Lopez are one of a string of sex cases involving female teachers to hit the news.
Lopez was a substitute teacher at the school.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lopez Worked for a Private Company That Sends Substitute Teachers Into Schools
The allegations involve a school in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Elizabeth is the fourth largest city in New Jersey.
Lopez “taught classes at Nicholas S. LaCorte-Peterstown School No. 3, but was employed by Source4Teachers, a private company that hires substitute teachers for the school district,” according to CBS News.
According to the Source4Teachers website, the company “was established in 2000 with a vision to improve the continuity and quality of the classroom experience for students by providing highly skilled substitute personnel to school districts. The company is a leading provider of substitute staffing services, filling more than 6,500 daily and long-term vacancies each day for over 250 clients in a variety of states throughout the U.S.”
2. The Teacher Is Accused of Engaging in Sexual Acts With the Student
As has been seen in other cases, online messages allegedly helped lead authorities to the teacher.
Authorities are accusing Lopez of engaging “in sexual acts with a student in her car at least twice” and accuse her of exchanging “sexually explicit messages with him online,” NJ.com reported.
The student’s age was not revealed.
On Facebook, the school touts itself as the number 1 urban school district in New Jersey.
3. Lopez Could Face Up to 20 Years in Prison
The accusations have landed Lopez in serious hot water.
According to RLS Media, the teacher was charged with “first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.”
The charges could net her between 10 and 20 years in prison if she is convicted, CBS News reported.
4. The School Has Banned Lopez From the Premises
The school district took swift action after the allegations surfaced, although Lopez is not an employee for the district.
Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer told NJ.com that the district “barred Lopez from entering any school immediately after they heard about the allegations.”
“Law enforcement and social service agencies were notified, as was the substitute’s employer,” Hugelmeyer said in a statement to the New Jersey newspaper.
The Washington Post has reported that cases of teachers having inappropriate relationships with students are on the rise, partly fueled by social media. In 2014 alone, there were “781 reported cases of teachers and other school employees accused or convicted of sexual relationships with students,” The Post reported.
5. A Series of Other Teachers Have Been Accused of Having Sex With Students
The allegations against Lopez are just the latest in a string of accusations lodged against teachers in many states for allegedly having sexual relationships with students.
Most recently, Lindsey Jarvis, a 27-year-old middle school teacher’s aide, was accused of the rape and sodomy of a student who was under the age of 16. Lindsey Banta Jarvis was arrested in Fayette County, Kentucky, on June 16.
Then there’s Laura Ramos. She is a 31-year-old Connecticut high school teacher who is accused of having sex with a special education student. You can read more about that case here: