Thursday, February 21, 2008

Instructor accused of assaulting girl is suspended with pay

By Andrea Eilenberger

LOPATCONG TWP. | A seventh-grade social studies teacher charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl was suspended from her job with pay.

Keri Ann Brekne's suspension is retroactive to Jan. 23 and is pending further investigation, the township school board's resolution states.

Prior to the vote, Superintendent Michael Rossi said the Brekne situation has been a difficult time for both the district and administration. He said the district has discussed the matter with police to best determine what it can publicly say on the matter.

Board attorney Mark Toscano said he could not say whether the victim was a student.

"The board and the administrators have done everything that they can to protect the students while at the same time respecting the requests of the various law enforcement agencies involved," Toscano said. "As we are able to discuss more information and come into more information, the board will make it available in a timely matter."

Brekne was arrested Jan. 23 and at the time board member Ernie Gallant said Brekne was not actively teaching. Her salary is $46,012.

Brekne, 28, of Bethlehem, is facing sexual assault charges in Northampton County and Warren County. The alleged abuse in New Jersey occurred between June 1 and Sept. 30, records show. The alleged abuse began when the girl was 14 years old.

Pennsylvania court records show the girl told police Brekne drove her from her Warren County home to Brekne's Bethlehem home, where she was allegedly abused, between July 1 and September.

Board members also rescinded their appointment of Brekne as 2007-08 student council and ski club adviser. The board appointed Scott Yerger as the 2008 ski club adviser.

The Express-Times

Note from Gag:
I think everybody should know that I've always supported Scott Yerger as the 2008 ski club adviser. In fact, I dare say this whole Brekne scandal could have been avoided if Berger had the job in the first place. I knew Brekne would let this ski club position go to her head and start molesting little girls.