A New Jersey teacher who witnesses said masturbated in public outside of local stores was finally fired from his job – three years after the repeated incidents.

The ordeal started on July 30, 2015, when a woman told police she saw John P. McCabe standing in a parking lot with his hand down his shorts stroking “with back and forth movements as if he were masturbating,” according to the State Board of Examiners.

Police reviewed surveillance video and identified his vehicle, which an officer spotted days later at another store parking lot rubbing his “clearly defined genitals.”

“At that time, a patrolman observed McCabe standing in front of a CVS with his hand in his pants manipulating his penis,” the state reports.

The Wanaque Police Department notified State Board of Examiners that on March 14, 2016 McCabe was convicted of a disorderly person offense, initiating the lengthy and time consuming process of removing a tenured teacher in New Jersey.

Education reformers have repeatedly highlighted how the union-dominated due process proceedings protect dangerous educators at the expense of students, and McCabe’s case is another example.

McCabe, a physical education and health teacher, disputed his case and argued that he wasn’t technically convicted of a disorderly person offense or any other offense. McCabe did not dispute the witnesses, but instead noted that he completed a court-approved conditional dismissal program that did not require him to admit his guilt.

McCabe alleged the charges against him were eventually dismissed in April 2017, and there was “no finding or adjudication of guilty occurred relative to these charges.” Administrative law judge Gail M. Cookson reviewed his case and found the Board of Examiners had “successfully proven by the preponderance of the credible evidence and through direct observational evidence that McCabe engaged in conduct unbecoming of a teacher.”

Despite the disturbing behavior, however, Cookson recommended a three-year suspension of McCabe’s teaching certificates, rather than permanent revocation. The judge justified the lighter punishment because it allegedly wasn’t “part of larger or more persistent pattern of conduct, the conduct did not occur in school or on school property, or even during the school year, and no school children were present.”

There was also no evidence that Cookson actually exposed himself to anyone, Cookson wrote.

The deputy attorney general took exception with the judge’s recommended punishment and urged the Board of Examiners to ignore it, citing previous cases as precedent for permanently ending McCabe’s New Jersey teaching career. The Board of Examiners ultimately agreed, and while it accepted Cookson’s findings, it opted to put him out of a job.

“After reviewing the entire record, the Board agrees with the (judge’s) assessment regarding the highly inappropriate nature of McCabe’s conduct,” the Board of Examiners wrote. “However, the Board diverges with the ALJ’s evaluation of the proper resultant penalty and believes that revocation is warranted here.”

While McCabe’s employment status since the 2015 incidents remains unclear, unionized teachers are typically suspended with pay pending employment disputes. From start to finish, McCabe’s case dragged on for nearly three and a half years.