The defense for New Jersey teacher Nicole Dufault, who is charged with having sex with six students, seems to be that she should not be held accountable for having illegal relationships with the young men. No, according to her attorney, it isn’t her fault at all. The fault rests solely with the six teenagers with whom she allegedly had illegal sex.
NJ.com reported that 35-year-old Nicole Dufault, who has been indicted on 40 counts of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, is now the victim in the case. Or at least that is what her lawyer, Timothy Smith, is now claiming.
In a telephone interview, Smith said his client was vulnerable to the manipulations of her students due to brain trauma and a subsequent surgery in the past. “I feel confident in stating and firmly believe in my heart that there is only one victim, not six, and that victim is Nicole Dufault,” he said. “If justice is served, not only should Ms. Dufault be fully exonerated, she should also be compensated by those directly and indirectly responsible for her tragic victimization.”
But the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the legal entity who will attempt to make the case against the former language arts teacher, are having none of Smith’s script flipping. “Sadly victims of sexual abuse have traditionally been demonized by their abusers,” a statement from the Office read. “It takes an extraordinary amount of courage for a victim – especially a juvenile victim – to come forward, knowing the unfortunate stigma that some in society place upon victims of sexual abuse. We eagerly await an opportunity for this matter to be resolved in court.”
Nicole Dufault, a single mother of two, was indicted on Feb. 11, nearly five months after her mid-September arrest. The Columbia High School teacher was first charged with sexually assaulting five young males, but a sixth male came forward prior to the case being presented to a grand jury. Investigators found that the teacher engaged in sex with the teens, ages ranging from 14-15 at the time of the alleged sexual assaults, from 2013 to 2014. Prosecutors note that a sex tape of Dufault having oral sex with one of the victims was a key part of the case against her.
Still, her attorney’s attempts to cast his client as the victim and the victims as predators (or instigators/culprits) has become standard practice for defense attorneys and the accused over the years, even in cases where the preponderance of proof or simply the legal definition of the law sides with the victim (which it certainly does with regard to illicit teacher-student relationships). A case in point: In January, a Florida man admitted to police to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl, according to Raw Story, but insisted that it was girl’s fault that the incident occurred.