Morgan Frawley, the 25-year-old woman who police said had sex with a 15-year-old boy while working at the Congregational Church of New Canaan, pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a minor in Norwalk Superior Court Friday morning.
Judge William Holden sentenced Frawley to 10 years in prison, but the sentence was suspended in place of 10 years probation. She will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years and is prohibited from having any contact, supervised or unsupervised, with minors during that time. Frawley also will not be allowed to have any type of contact with the victim or his family.
Risk of injury to a minor is a Class C felony in Connecticut, which may require the defendant to be listed on the sex offender registry and the state Department of Children and Families to remove children from a defendant's home if it believes they are in danger. The latter was not necessary in Frawley's case since the Fairfield woman does not have any children at home, her attorney, Frank Bevilacqua, told the court.
New Canaan police arrested Frawley on a charge of risk of injury to a minor on Oct. 25, 2013, after an investigation concluded that the former church youth group leader exchanged numerous sexually explicit photos and text messages with the teenage boy. In February, the prosecution added a second charge -- second-degree sexual assault. Frawley previously had pleaded not guilty to both charges.
As part of the deal, the court Friday nolled the second-degree sexual assault charge. By nulling it, the prosecution keeps the right to reopen the case and prosecute it again anytime during the following 13 months.
Frawley also will have to continue undergoing mental health evaluation treatment.
Mark Sherman, an attorney for the victim's family, did not wish to be heard during Friday's hearing, but he did not object to the deal.
"Throughout this entire ordeal, my clients' only concern was the safety and welfare of their child," he said. "Any parent would be horrified to have this happen to their family."
When asked if his clients have any plans to file a civil lawsuit against the New Canaan church, Sherman said, "Consider that a certainty." However, he declined to provide details.
Anne Wilkinson, the church's director of communications, also declined to comment.
Frawley had been working part time as a youth group leader at the church for two years before she was suspended in April 2013. The suspension came after church leaders were notified by the boy's parents about explicit text messages between her and the teen on his cellphone. The church then reported the alleged relationship to DCF, which contacted New Canaan police the same day, according to the Oct. 16, 2013, affidavit.
Frawley was also an eighth-grade substitute teacher at Tomlinson Middle School in Fairfield. She was dismissed by the school in April 2013 after officials learned of the allegations against her, according to the affidavit.
During the investigation, the New Canaan Police Department obtained records from both Frawley's and the victim's cellphones. Some of those texts show Frawley and the boy saying they loved each other.
"You make me feel so loved, so supported, and so appreciated," Frawley, who was 24 at the time, said to the boy in an April 15, 2013, text message.
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 said 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."
Court documents also state that Frawley lived with a boyfriend in Fairfield. In one message, she said her situation was "messy" because she was trying to date two people, according to the affidavit.
In January, she was found eligible for accelerated rehabilitation, but after the sexual assault charge was added Feb. 21, she was disqualified.
In court Friday, Bevilacqua did not have much to say. "We're just happy this is over," he told the judge.
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