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Jurisdiction Does Not Extend to Germany

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Sep 22, 2016 |


In State v. Sumulikoski, students from Paramus Catholic High School attended a school-sponsored trip abroad to, among other places, Germany. While in Germany, two male chaperones, a 28-year-old permanent substitute and athletic coach and a 31-year-old vice president of operations, had sexual relations with three 17-year-old female students. They were charged in New Jersey with multiple counts of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The two defendants moved to dismiss the criminal charges against them, arguing that New Jersey could not charge them for things that occurred in Germany. The New Jersey Supreme Court decided that the defendants were correct and dismissed the charges. The Court stated that in order for New Jersey to have jurisdiction, specific conduct that is an element of the crime must have occurred in New Jersey. Here, all of the conduct occurred in Germany. The fact that the chaperones were entrusted with the care of the students in New Jersey was merely a status, not conduct, and therefore was insufficient to establish jurisdiction.

To review the case, click here.