PARSIPPANY HILLS, NJ- Jenna Leahey, a former Parsippany Hills High School teacher, was sentenced to serve five years in a state prison following her guilty plea to endangering the welfare of a child through sexually explicit text messaging.
The 35 year old English teacher was charged three years ago with two counts of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, one account of second degree Sexual Assault, one account of second degree Official Misconduct and three counts of fourth degree Criminal Sexual Misconduct.
Leahey conducted an ongoing inappropriate relationship with a then 16 year-old-student beginning in January of 2013. The English teacher exchanged sexually explicit text messages with the victim that Superior Court, Morristown, Judge Salem Ahto noted to contain “vivid, lurid details”. The exchanges progressed to include sexually explicit images that Leahey sent of herself to the student. The relationship went on until approximately June 6th of that year with acts occurring both on and off of school grounds.
“The state prison sentence for this offender will hopefully send a message that the abuse of children, in any way shape or form, by those in positions of authority will not be tolerated,” Morris County Prosecutor, Fredric Knapp said.
Leahey, who relocated to Mount Olive, pled guilty earlier this year to one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child by engaging in conduct that would debauch or impair the morals of a minor. This will carry a sentence of five years in state prison.
Supervising Assistant Prosecutor, Meg Rodriguez, pointed out that the former English teacher understood what she was doing.
“Of all people, she knew and understood the significance and power of words,” Rodriguez said.