Youth leader now facing sexual assault charge
Updated 12:27 pm, Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Fairfield woman who police said had sexual relations with a 15-year-old boy while working at the Congregational Church of New Canaan is now facing a second-degree sexual assault charge, according to court documents.
Morgan Frawley, 25, was already facing a charge of risk of injury to a minor, for which she was arrested by New Canaan police Oct. 25. An affidavit issued days before her arrest shows the former church youth group leader exchanged numerous sexually explicit photos and text messages with the teenage boy.
In January, she was found eligible for accelerated rehabilitation, a probationary program that, if completed, expunges the charges against first-time offenders. A hearing to decide whether she would be granted the program was scheduled for today, but Norwalk Superior Court has continued the case to March 21, after a request from her defense.
It is unclear whether she is still eligible for the program now that she's facing a sexual assault charge. The charge, second-degree sexual assault on a victim between 13 and 15 years old, is a Class B felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Mark Sherman, the attorney representing the victim's family, said the new charge, which was filed Feb. 21, shows the gravity of the case.
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"Obviously, this case is more serious than we initially thought," he said. "We'll be following the state investigation closely."
Frawley's attorney, Frank Bevilacqua, was unavailable for comment.
The woman had been working as a youth group leader at the church for two years when she was suspended last April. She worked there part time and was not a member of the church, according to church officials.
The suspension came after church officials were notified by the boy's parents about explicit text messages between Frawley and the teen on his cell phone. The church then reported the alleged relationship to the state Department of Children and Families. DCF contacted New Canaan police on the same day, according to the Oct. 16 affidavit.
Frawley was an eighth-grade substitute teacher at Tomlinson Middle School in Fairfield. She was let go by the school in late April, immediately after officials learned of the allegations against her, according to the affidavit.
Sherman declined to comment on whether he's considering pursuing civil actions against the church.
New Canaan's Sgt. Carol Ogrinc wrote in the affidavit that she believed "Frawley and the juvenile victim were involved in a sexual relationship and engaged in sexual intercourse." Based on the text messages, Ogrinc believes that Frawley had been at the boy's residence and had sex, according to the document. Besides sexually explicit text messages, the affidavit shows that Frawley also sent multiple photos of herself to the victim in "suggestive poses while either partially clothed or fully nude."
A protective order prohibiting contact with the teen boy was issued against the defendant on Nov. 5.
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