PARSIPPANY — Katherine Carter, Public Information Officer, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office advised Parsippany Focus that Stephen Yekel, 47, was released by Judge Ronald D. Wigler, Presiding Judge Criminal Division, over the state’s objection on February 3. Yekel is currently on home detention.
Yekel of Lake Hiawatha was arrested on January 24 and charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Yekel was a Montclair elementary school custodian when he was arrested.
Between October 2016 and October 2018 Yekel allegedly engaged in sexual acts with the female victim on several different dates. The incidents took place in various locations, beginning when the victim was 14 and continuing until she was 16, Carter said.
Yekel is listed as the head custodian at Northeast School, according to the staff directory on the district’s website. Interim Superintendent Nathan Park said that Yerkel was no longer employed by the district.
The prosecutor’s office did not specify where the victim lived in order to protect her privacy. But in a statement from the district to Northeast parents, Interim Superintendent Nathan Parker said the victim was not from Montclair.
Carter said that the investigation has not identified any other victims in the matter.
On January 29, Parker sent a letter to Northeast families concerning the investigation.
“In consultation with the Montclair Police Department, I can provide you with the following information. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation, which involved a Northeast School employee. The alleged victim has no connection to Montclair Public Schools. There are no other Montclair Public Schools students or staff involved in this investigation. At no time were any Montclair Public Schools students or staff in any danger.”