Judge To Rule On Validity Of Sex Charges Against Two Former Paramus Catholic Staffers
Artur Sopel of River Edge and Michael Sumulikoski of Elmwood Park were indicted on alleged sexual misconduct during a school trip to Europe.
A judge is expected to decide on July 9 whether the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office has the authority to charge two former Paramus Catholic High School faculty members with alleged sexual misconduct during a trip the men chaperoned to Germany, NorthJersey.com reported.
Artur Sopel of River Edge and Michael Sumulikoski of Elmwood Park were arrested on April 5, 2011 after three teenage girls alleged that they had engaged in sexual conduct with the pair during the February trip. An additional girl, a former student at Paramus Catholic, came forward later stating she engaged in sexual activities with Sopel in spring of 2010.
The indictment charges Sopel with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child and 12 counts of sexual assault, which are second degree crimes each carrying a maximum term of 10 years in prison. He is also charged with two counts of witness tampering, a third degree crime carrying a maximum term of five years incarceration.
Sumilikoski's indictment includes three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and three counts of sexual assault, which are second degree crimes each carrying a maximum term of 10 years in prison.
Defense attorneys Philip De Vencentes (representing Sumulikoski) and Ray Flood (for Sopel) argued that the county does not have jurisdiction over an alledged incident that occured overseas, all while maintaining their clients innocence.
The prosecution counter argued that they have the right because both men were granted supervisory authority as trip chaperones in New Jersey.
Superior Court Judge James Guida's ruling is expected on July 9.
Prior to their arrests, Sopel was the vice president of operations at the school, and Sumilikoski served as a substitute teacher and assistant football coach. They had both been removed from their positions by the Archdiocese of Newark.