A 25-year-old Fairfield woman, who was a NewCanaan church youth group leader and former substitute teacher at Tomlinson Middle School, has been charged with risk of injury to a minor after police said she had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy.
A lawyer representing the boy's family, however, said the relationship was not sexual.
Morgan V. Frawley, of Soundview Avenue, turned herself in to New Canaan police last Friday after learning a warrant had been issued for her arrest.
The New Canaan boy's parents contacted officials at the Congregational Church of New Canaan after they found sexually explicit images and texts on their son's cell phone, according to New Canaan police Sgt. Carol Ogrinc.
Mark Sherman, the lawyer for the teenager and his family, denies that the two had a sexual relationship. "The charges, or lack thereof, speak for themselves. Since the beginning of this investigation, the family has taken all steps necessary to protect my client's privacy and welfare.
"They are ready to put this behind them and move on with their lives," Sherman said Monday.
Former Congregational Church of New Canaan Senior Minister Harold "Skip" Masback reported the relationship to the state Department of Children and Families after he was notified by the boy's parents, interim Senior Minister Anne Coffman said.
DCF contacted New Canaan police on April 23 regarding reports that Frawley, who was a church youth group leader, was having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 15-year-old male.
In April, the church suspended Frawley, who was 24 at the time, from her role as a youth group leader after allegations of the sexual relationship were made, Coffman said. Frawley had been employed on a part-time basis for two years, Coffman said, and she was not a member of the church.
Clergy members are mandated reporters of abuse to minors and are required to report any allegations of such incidents to authorities. DCF found reason to turn the case over to police, which the agency did in the spring.
Frawley was a long-term substitute teacher in the Fairfield school district, Ogrinc said. Fairfield police said they have no record of any criminal activity by her in town.
For confidentiality reasons, Coffman said, parishioners and Youth Group members were not notified of the situation, and she herself was not told about it until after she started work there about six weeks ago.
"Churchgoers are shocked and saddened," Coffman said. "Youth Group is such a wonderful program and such a source of joy in the community. This is tragic. Everyone's prayers are going out to the family."
There is no reason to believe there are other victims, both Ogrinc and Coffman said. Ogrinc also said there is no reason to believe any sexual conduct took place on church grounds or on Youth Group service trips.
Frawley accompanied the Youth Group on a 10-day mission trip to Puerto Rico in February.
Frawley's Facebook page was deactivated some time Monday between 8 and 10 a.m., but her last public activity before it was deleted was the addition of a profile picture on April 27, four days after DCF contacted the New Canaan police. She was also had a profile on the babysitting website, sittercity.com, on which she advertised her availability for child care. She said she was able to care for children of all ages, and had expertise in babysitting those with ADD and ADHD. Her rate was $10 to 5 per hour.
Frawley did not answer the door at her Fairfield home Monday afternoon. The blinds on nearly all the windows of the home were drawn. In the back of the house, a blanket or carpet blocked view into the house from a glass door, and a flag holder attached to the front of the home was empty, while an American flag was wrapped up and leaned against a bench in a foyer between the storm door and the front door. A black Lexus SUV was parked in the driveway.
Frawley posted $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear Nov. 5 in Norwalk Superior Court.
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