TEACH-SEX JUDGE REBUKED
Pamela Diehl-Moore, a 43 year old teacher, admitted to having a sexual relationship with a 13 year old student and pleaded guilty in January 2002 to sexual assault charges as part of a plea bargain with Bergen County authorities. She was expected to receive a three-year prison term when she was sentenced, but instead received five years' probation. Declaring no harm had been done, Superior Court Judge Bruce Gaeta spared Diehl-Moore from going to prison. I don't see the harm that was done and certainly society doesn't need to be worried, Gaeta said at the May 22 sentencing. It's just something between two people that clicked beyond the teacher-student relationship. Assemblywoman Rose Heck, who represents Bergen County, called the judge's decision shocking and unacceptable. Diehl-Moore was suspended following her February 2001 arrest and has since lost her teaching license. The judge has been referred to a disciplinary committee. Superior Court Judge Sybil Moses, Gaeta's supervisor, sent a copy of the transcript to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which handles discipline for New Jersey judges. She was resentenced after the state appeals court panel ruled that Gaeta's sentencing was inappropriate. She now must serve three years in prison and register under Megan's Law as a sex offender after she is released.
Gaeta has been reprimanded. The panel found he violated the canons of the bench by making statements expressing a bias during sentencing in a criminal case. While the remarks were inappropriate, the panel agreed they were isolated and not likely to be repeated. Gaeta will remain on the bench.