Michael Furey, 49, was found guilty of second degree misconduct and third-degree luring for impersonating a teenage boy to attempting to lure the female student into the encounter, according to a statement issued by the prosecutor.
During the trial, the student testified she received the messages in 2010, and that she had set up a filter on her account that only allowed her to be contacted by someone under 18 years old.
She realized Furey, her teacher and class advisor, was sending the messages in June of that year, when he flashed her lights at her as she walked home from a friend’s house in Paulsboro,.
She was walking down a street only she, the friend and the person she had been communicating with online would know she used.
She said she was “shell shocked” and called him a “creeper.” She said Furey told her to delete the messages and not tell anyone this happened, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Furey was arrested two days later, after the student reported the encounter to her mother. He was subsequently suspended without pay.
“The defendant breached his duties as defined by the administrative code,” Judge Walter L. Marshall Jr. said in a prepared statement. He added Furey “used his knowledge as a teacher to keep her interest.”
He said the messages showed he wanted the girl to be alone so they could engage in a sexual encounter, adding that Furey could be said to have been “obsessed.”
Furey didn’t testify during the trial, but adamantly denied commiting the crime of luring. His attorney said that while Furey’s actions were unethical and immoral, he wasn’t guilty of misconduct because he didn’t abuse any official duty, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
“The fact is, we don’t know what he would have done in the car,” said Robert Wolf, Furey’s attorney.
“The only reason the defendant knew the victim was because he was a teacher and she was a student in the district,” Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Staci Scheetz argued.
She said the attempt was proof of guilt under the luring law.
Furey’s $50,000 bail was revoked, and he will be sentenced on Nov. 29.