Teacher blames sex with students on religious upbringing, gets lighter sentence
PASSAIC — The sentence for a substitute teacher who admitted having sex with underage students was further reduced after pleas to the judge by her family.
Linda Hardan, 22, pleaded guilty in June to one count of sexual assault and two counts of child endangerment while teaching at Manchester Regional High School in North Haledon. Prosecutors say in one case, she sent images of herself in various stages of undress to a 14-year-old boy before having sex with him; they also say another boy dropped out of high school because he was traumatized by the encounters.
NorthJersey.com reported that Hardan's deal with the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office called for a five-year sentence. Members of Hardan's family, however, told Miguel de la Carrera that she is "the foundation, the rock" of the family. Her lawyer blamed her behavior on her strict religious upbringing, and argued for therapy, rather than prison.
The judge said it appeared Hardan had a stunted emotional development, and had never learned to interact with men her own age, according to the report, and set the sentence at three years. But the judge denied delaying her sentence to allow her to continue to attend class at Passaic County Community College.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
.Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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