NEW BRUNSWICK – A Superior Criminal Court hearing was held on Jan. 6 to determine how the case of former South Plainfield English Teacher John Q. Angeline will proceed. Angeline, accused of molesting his stepson for over four years beginning in August 2010 when the boy was a 15-year-old freshman at South Plainfield High School, stood trial this past fall, which ended in a mistrial on Nov. 20 after the jury deadlocked.
Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Carver and Defense Attorney Jeffrey Farmer spoke with Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez during the brief Jan. 6 hearing. Jan. 27 has been set for a status conference, presided over by Jimenez, where it is expected the prosecution will announce their decision of whether to proceed with a retrial or not. If the case is retried, a conviction would mean Angeline’s teaching license will be officially revoked, and he will be banned from public employment for life.
Angeline’s charges include: Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact (third-degree offense), Criminal Sexual Contact (fourth-degree offense), Sexual Assault (second-degree offense), and Endangering the Welfare of a Child (second-degree offense). If served consecutively, the charges carry a prison sentence of a minimum of 13 years and maximum of 26½ years.
Angeline was arrested on March 2, 2015, during an investigation led by Detective George Stilwell of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Detective Lloyd McNelly of the South Plainfield Police Department, resulting in the immediate suspension from his teaching position.
A Middlesex County Grand Jury indicted Angeline on Sept. 1, 2015, on charges of sexually assaulting his stepson for nearly three years, stating “the victim was sexually assaulted on numerous occasions in South Plainfield on various dates between Sept. 1, 2010 and June 24, 2013.”
During the initial police investigation, video of Angeline’s stepson taken without the boy’s knowledge was discovered in Angeline’s possession. After the discovery of the video, a grand jury indicted Angeline in Aug. of 2016 on the charge of endangering the welfare of a child, which is a second-degree crime.
According to the indictment, “Angeline, on or between Feb. 4, 2015 and Feb. 12, 2015, in the Borough of South Plainfield, unlawfully and knowingly photographed or filmed a child in a prohibited sex act.” The grand jury also added an invasion of privacy charge, a third-degree offense, for allegedly filming or taking photographs knowing that Angeline was not licensed or privileged to do so and without the boy’s consent.
In the months leading up to the 2019 trial, Middlesex Country Prosecutor John Carver filed a motion to include Angeline’s statement to police taken on March 2, 2015. Then the defense filed a motion to suppress the statement, based on “exclusionary rule” or “fruit of the poisonous tree,” which prevents evidence collected or analyzed in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights from being used in a court of law.
Defense argued that charges were not read to Angeline before the statement was taken, so anything obtained in the statement was omitted from evidence and the motion to suppress was granted. Therefore, the video was deemed inadmissible and the 2016 charges added by the grand jury were dropped.
Angeline’s employment with South Plainfield ended after he resigned in Jan. of 2019. The New Jersey State Board of Examiners officially suspended Angeline’s teaching license and pay in June 2017, however, he maintained health benefits through South Plainfield. In Jan. of 2019, the South Plainfield Board of Education (SPBOE) accepted and approved Angeline’s resignation.
In June 2019, Angeline was expected to plead guilty after Prosecutor Thomas Carver offered a plea agreement. His guilty plea would be in exchange for a no-prison sentence, and he would abide by Megan’s Law requirements, forcing Angeline to register as a sex offender. In a mid-June hearing, however, the plea agreement was not accepted by Angeline.
In Oct. of 2019, a rigorous jury selection ensued to carefully eliminate anyone who had heard of the high profile case. A jury of twelve people with two alternates was selected.
The trial the jury heard included graphic testimony, where Angeline's stepson alleged that he was sexually molested repeatedly as well as testimony from detectives and family members about what had transpired.
Angeline's defense team alleged that his stepson was not truthful and often got into trouble. They pointed out several times in the testimony where they found inconsistencies from his stepson and others on the stand, alleging that everyone was aligning their stories to support Angeline's stepson.
For a full account of the trial, go to:
Ultimately, after several days of deliberation, the jury could not come to a unanimous vote and deadlocked, resulting in the judge declaring a mistrial.
At this point, the Jan. 27 status conference the prosecutors are expected to decide whether to retry the defendant or not. To precede with a retrial means a new jury will be selected to hear the entire case again, and they will decide Angeline's fate.