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Tuesday, April 24 News

Frawley eligible for accelerated rehab

Morgan Frawley, the woman police said had sexual relations with a 15-year-old boy while working as a youth group leader at the Congregational Church of New Canaan, was found eligible for accelerated rehabilitation in Norwalk Superior Court Thursday.

Frawley, 25, applied for accelerated rehabilitation, a probationary program that allows first-time offenders to expunge charges against them, in early December. A hearing to decide whether her application will be granted has been scheduled for Feb. 27.

Frawley was arrested by New Canaan police Oct. 25 on a charge of risk of injury to a minor. Her attorney, Frank Bevilacqua, told the judge Thursday that Frawley is pleading not guilty.

If the court approves the application next month, she will be placed on probation for up to two years. If the conditions of the probation are completed, the charges will be dismissed.

Mark Sherman, the attorney representing the victim's family, was not in court during Frawley's appearance Thursday morning. Sherman later said his clients are considering their options and still haven't taken a position regarding the judge's decision. When asked whether he was considering pursuing civil actions against Frawley or the church, Sherman declined to comment.

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An Oct. 16 affidavit shows that the victim's father told Sherman that he did not want to pursue a criminal investigation because his son's involvement with Frawley "was a romance like Romeo and Juliet." When New Canaan's Sgt. Carol Ogrinc learned about that comment, she told Sherman she had an obligation to investigate further because Frawley was a teacher, according to the document.

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.

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.

Frawley had been working part time at the Congregational Church of New Canaan for two years and she was not a member of the church, according to church officials.

After they were notified by the boy's parents on April 23, church officials suspended Frawley from the youth group and reported the alleged relationship to the state Department of Children and Families. DCF contacted New Canaan police that same day, the affidavit shows.

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson

Nelson Oliveira|Education/general assignment reporter