A NJ teacher/coach faces probation for not reporting a colleague student affair

The Rutgers Prep staffer who had sex with a teen in 2021 was sentenced to prison

The student also is suing the private school and both coaches for ‘negligence’

FRANKLIN (Somerset) — A former Rutgers Preparatory School teacher and coach has admitted that she failed to report a colleague’s sexual affair with a minor student.

Ranait Griff, of South Orange, entered a guilty plea Wednesday to an amended disorderly persons offense of failure to report child abuse, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald.

While the pricey private school was not publicly named by the prosecutor's office, it was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in January by the victim.

The plea deal, which involves probation, stems from sexual encounters of Matthew Rennie and a 17-year-old girl who attended the elite private school, where both adults worked.

Griff also has agreed to the stipulation of no longer teaching or coaching any legal minors.

rutgers Prep teacher coach sex assault affair Matthew Rennie (NJDOC)
Matthew Rennie was sentenced to prison for sex assault of teen student (NJDOC)

Rutgers Prep coach arrested in 2021 after sexual affair during pandemic

Rennie, of Ringoes, was arrested on Oct. 6, 2021, after the teen reported to Franklin Township Police that she had been sexually assaulted by him.

The teen said that between July 2021 and September 2021, Rennie, then 28, had sex with her in both Montgomery Township and East Amwell Township (Hunterdon County).

Investigators found that Griff had been aware of the sexual relationship, but failed to report it.

Both Rennie and Griff were graduates of Rutgers Prep, according to MyCentralJersey.com, who were then hired by their alma mater as teachers and coaches.

Rennie served as a girls volleyball coach, while Griff coached girls lacrosse.

Rennie pleaded guilty to sexual assault and child endangerment last year and was sentenced in March to four years in state prison.

He would be eligible for parole in August, according to state corrections records.

Once released, he must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and would remain under parole supervision for life.

Rennie was banned from teaching or coaching anyone younger than 18 and also must continue psychotherapy.

Rutgers Prep affair scandal Ranait Griff (SCPO)
Ranait Griff faces probation for not reporting child abuse (SCPO)

Victim sues Rutgers Prep, Rennie and Griff for ‘negligence’

In January, the female student who reported the sexual assault filed a lawsuit against Rutgers Prep, Rennie and Griff.

Founded in 1766, Rutgers Prep is a "pre-K through 12th grade co-ed independent day school."

Tuition for the 2023-2024 school year for grades 9-12 was $46,845, as listed on the school's website.

The complaint, filed in Somerset County Superior Court, said that Rutgers Prep and both educators “negligently failed to protect the minor student” and did nothing to stop Rennie’s “offensive sexual conduct.”

In March 2021, according to the complaint, Rutgers Prep granted permission for the student athlete to physically attend school on a daily basis during the COVID pandemic, at a time when most students were still attending in-person every other week.

It was during the ensuing weeks that Rennie and the teen spent prolonged time alone in his classroom, escalating into a sexual relationship, according to the lawsuit.

As previously reported by The Montgomery News, an attorney for the young woman said his client was hoping for “transparency and accountability.”

NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts

Over the past several years, state lawmakers have taken on the challenge of dealing with accused child predators among the ranks of teachers and educators.

In 2018, the so-called “pass the trash” law went into effect, requiring stricter New Jersey school background checks related to child abuse and sexual misconduct.

The follow individuals were arrested over the past several years. Some have been convicted and sentenced to prison, while others have accepted plea deals for probation.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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