A female middle school teacher in New Jersey, the daughter of the mayor of the town of Lodi, groped a boy and sent him explicit photos of herself, a court heard Friday.
Stephanie Carafa, 32, is charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of aggravated criminal sexual contact. She was on paid leave from the school.
She was arrested in October 2018 after police discovered her photos while investigating the sources of explicit images of underage girls that were being passed around by students of Lodi High School in the town, the North Jersey Herald reported.
“Naked photos, sexual conversations and even meetings after school in her classroom did in fact occur,” Bergen County Assistant Prosecutor Kristin DeMarco told the court.
Carafa’s alleged crimes came to light when police, investigating reports that images of underage girls were circulating throughout the school, heard about photos of a popular teacher in Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
A teenage boy, whom Carafa had taught in the third, fifth and seventh grades, had the photos and videos sent to him by the teacher he was 13 via the Snapchat social media app, authorities said.
Carafa allegedly sent the pictures, which showed her nude or scantily clad, in a file titled “My Eyes Only.”
According to an arrest warrant, the student and teacher had lengthy text conversations about Carafa’s sexual preferences.
Over the course of four to seven after-school meetings, Carafa allegedly called the boy into her classroom and asked that he shut the door and close the blinds, DeMarco said. There, they would kiss and grope each other inappropriately, she said.
The boy, now 16, confessed to the relationship when he was brought in for questioning related to the photos of high school girls.
Carafa’s attorney, Frank Carbonetti, has claimed that the photos do not show his client’s face and could have been hacked from her phone and altered.
“There’s been no forensic evidence provided whatsoever on where these pictures came from, how they were received,” he said.
He has previously argued the students who implicated Carafa did so to mitigate their involvement in distributing photos of underage girls.