Pennsylvania Substitute Teacher Accused of Sexual Assault

Moon Township, Pennsylvania substitute English teacher Tiffany Leiseth, was accused with two counts of institutional sexual assault and a misdemeanor of serving alcohol to two male seniors after having sex with them. According to court documents and two anonymous phone calls from former students —who were 18 at the time of the incident—, claiming they engaged in sexual activity on May 27 and 28 in the Leiseth’s home while her husband was away on a business trip. Both students were offered beer —only one of them took up the offer—, but both also allegedly received pictures containing nude photographs of herself.

On May 30, a teacher overheard rumors of another coworker’s lewd pictures; the school notified the police, which interviewed the student, who claimed that the photos were sent by Mrs. Leiseth. Four days later, another male student allegedly received such sexual pictures, but in these separate interviews, both men denied having any further sexual relationship.

Even if the legal age of consent in the State of Pennsylvania is 18, police consider the incident as a crime since both male students were still in school at the time; as Chief Leo McCarthy declares, “This crime came on the books around 2007. It’s designed to give people who are being supervised by others protection.” District Superintendent Joseph Guarino also agreed with this point of view, saying that the students “are considered as such until they graduate.”

In another turn, Leiseth’s defense attorney Mike Deriso claims that, as they were not her client’s students at the time of the incident —coupled with the fact that they were of legal age—, they had the power to make their own decisions.

The district superintendent has reported to suspend and later fire Mrs. Leiseth; she turned herself to police on July 8, but was released on her recognizance. She is slated to appear before a judge in a preliminary hearing on July 22 in Coraopolis.

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