A Pennsylvania teacher has been charged with felony institutional sexual assault following allegations that she had sex with two 18-year-old students at her home.
Tiffany Leiseth, 26, worked as a substitute English teacher in the New Brighton School District, northwest of Pittsburgh. The victims in the case were both taught by Leiseth, although the alleged sex acts occurred after classes had ended for the year.
Police launched an investigation in late May after they received tips that the teacher had sent nude photos to each of the young men.
“[Investigators] followed up on that rumor and they found those students, and they found the nude photographs, and they identified the teacher,” Moon Township Police Chief Leo McCarthy told CBS Pittsburgh.
In interviews with police, each victim described how he had been invited to Leiseth's house, was offered beer, and then engaged in sexual activity with the teacher. The first student came over on the last day of school, in the hours following the end of classes. The second student said he visited Leiseth's home the next day, according to police.
She reportedly told the students not to tell anyone, according to WPXI.
Leiseth lost her job in the wake of the allegations, but her attorney argued that since classes were over when the alleged acts occurred, she wasn't their teacher anymore.
“I'm not going to get in a war at this point with the alleged victims’ families,” Michael DeRiso, Leiseth’s attorney, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The reality is you had three consenting adults once school let out.”
“Regardless of your age, whether you’re an adult or not, if you’re a high school student, a teacher cannot have sexual relations with you,” McCarthy told WPXI.
However, because the young men were 18 years old, police could not charge Leiseth with a crime for sending them nude photos, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
Leiseth's preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 22.
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