A former Smyrna High School math teacher pleaded guilty Nov. 18 on rape charges stemming from her April arrest following allegations of misconduct with a 17-year-old male student.
Delaware Department of Justice Director of Legislative & External Affairs Joe Rogalsky said Jennifer Suarez pleaded guilty on fourth-degree rape charges Nov. 18 in a hearing at Kent County Superior Court; Suarez was set to go to trial on Nov. 19.
Suarez was also a cross country coach at the high school. Sentencing is set for January, Rogalsky said.
Suarez was arrested in April by Smyrna Police on charges of first-degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust. Smyrna Police Public Information Officer Cpl. Brandon Dunning said at the time allegations were brought to the attention of officers by school staff in Feb. 2014. An investigation immediately began, which concluded with the arrest of Suarez on April 25.
Dunning said the investigation determined that on Feb. 11, 2014 Suarez and the victim had an alleged sexual encounter that took place on school property inside Suarez's classroom.
Suarez resigned from her teaching position at the April 16 Smyrna Board of Education meeting.
Following her arrest, Suarez was processed at the Smyrna Police Department and presented to the Justice of the Peace Court 2 via videophone and released after posting a $20,000 secured bond pending a future court appearance.
Rogalsky said sentencing for fourth-degree rape charges is up to 15 years, but the judge is free to make a decision outside of the guidelines.