A Jackson Township music teacher is facing charges of child endangerment and official misconduct for allegedly having an inappropriate internet relationship with a 14 year old student five years ago.

Christa McAuliffe Middle School, Jackson (YouTube)

Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford says Michael D. Carattini, 29, of Toms River is accused of exchanging inappropriate internet and e-mail communications with a student that were sexually explicit in nature.

In a press release Ford states "the complaints do not allege any physical contact between the defendant and the victim. At this time, the allegations are related to inappropriate electronic communications, which would constitute violations of the child endangerment statute."

The abuse is alleged to have occurred five years ago when the victim was 14 years old, and was a student of Carattini at McAuliffe Middle School.  The victim, whose identity was not disclosed, is over the age of 18 currently and no longer a student with the district. Ford says that due to the supervisory relationship between student and teacher, as well Carattini's status as a public employee, official misconduct charges have been filed.

The allegations were first brought to Jackson Township Police by the Superintendent of Jackson Township School District.  The Township Board of Ed has suspended Carattini with pay from his position as a tenured teacher.

Carattini has been charged with one count of child endangerment in the first degree; one county of child endangerment in the second degree; as well as one count of official misconduct.

The defendant was released on bail.

A message on the school's website indicates Carattini had already been fired by the school and his position filled while officials seek to hire a replacement.

Jackson Police ask if anyone has information on the case to contact detective Mitch Cowit at 732 -928-3012, additionally Detective Jay Dotto of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office High Tech Crimes Unit can be reached at 732-929-2027.