LITTLE SILVER — A Red Bank Regional High School teacher has been charged with sexual assault for a "long-term sexual relationship" with a former student, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

Michael F. Canning, 41, of Long Branch is accused of starting a relationship with the underage victim in 2015 when she was a junior at the school. Canning and the student continued to meet until 2019, according to prosecutors.

The English teacher has been suspended with pay, Red Bank Regional Superintendent Louis Moore told New Jersey 101.5. That would change if Canning is indicted, according to Moore.

In a message to parents and staff, Moore said that counselors would be available to students and families.

“Please understand that we have taken every step to protect your children, our students and our staff," Moore said. "The employee has been placed on administrative leave and has no access to district resources. The district will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement."

Acting Prosecutor Raymond Santiago said Monday that Canning and the student had several meeting spots in Red Bank, Little Silver, and Shrewsbury where they engaged in sexual acts. The prosecutor called it an "egregious betrayal" of the faith placed in teachers.

“The charges filed this weekend are emblematic of our firm commitment to ensure that such conduct is never tolerated, and always met with swift action," Santiago said.

Canning was arrested in Oceanport on Saturday. He is charged with second-degree sexual assault, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

New Jersey 101.5 on Monday was unable to reach an attorney in Red Bank representing Canning.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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