NJ teacher accused of raping adopted student loses credentials
A teacher accused of sexually assaulting a former student she adopted after he was kicked out of his family's home has lost her teaching credentials while she defends herself in court.
The State Board of Examiners, the governing body that regulates teaching certificates, voted in September to suspend Rayna Culver's Grades K-8 certificates and principal and supervisor certificates beginning this month until the criminal charges against her are resolved.
Culver has been on leave from her middle school job in Trenton since she was arrested in May 2017.
She was indicted in July 2018 on two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, four counts of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of second-degree child endangerment.
Culver first met the boy when he was a student at Rivera Middle School. She became his guardian when he was 15 in 2016.
Her attorney has said that the troubled boy fabricated the allegations.
Even though she has not been found guilty, the State Board of Examiners this month said that "Culver’s potential disqualification from service in the public schools of this State because of her indictment for such serious offenses provides just cause to take action against her certificates."
It was one of many actions the board took against suspected and convicted perv teachers this month.
The board revoked the Russian teaching certificate of Eric Komar, of Hillsborough, who pleaded guilty in February 2018 to distributing images of child sexual abuse. Prosecutors said Komar had more than 600 such images of minors younger than 12. Komar told authorities that he had "thousands of images and videos," and that he "masturbates to images of child pornography on a daily basis."
He was sentenced October 2018 to 82 months in federal prison and supervised release for 10 years with computer monitoring, restricted contact with minors and treatment for sex offenders.
The board also revoked the principal certificate of James Kuntz, a priest who was head of St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City in the 1980s. He was working at St. Peter's College as a vice president when he was arrested in 2008. He was sentenced in 2009 to 40 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release
The board revoked the substitute credential of Michael Levitt, a Warren County man convicted in 2018 of raping an underage girl over a period of five years starting when she was 12. He pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault after being charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault. He was sentenced May 2018 to six years in prison and parole supervision for life.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email email@example.com.