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Former Franklin Regional teacher arrested over texts to teen

| Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011

A former Franklin Regional High School social studies teacher has been arrested on charges that he sent sexually explicit text messages to a male student in November.

Terrence Flaherty, 58, of 123 Pheasant Drive, Penn Hills, was charged yesterday with criminal use of a communication facility, criminal attempt, corruption of minors, harassment and two counts of criminal solicitation and unlawful contact with a minor.

He was arraigned Monday before Murrysville District Judge Charles Conway and was released on $25,000 bond.

The conditions stipulate that Flaherty is not permitted contact with any minor, or with Franklin Regional High school employees, students and administrators except for official meetings. He must continue treatment at Greenbriar Treatment Center, undergo a mental health evaluation and follow recommendations.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Murrysville police, officers were first informed Nov. 13 that a student younger than 18 had received a text message from a teacher requesting nude pictures of him. The teacher allegedly sent another text message to the student, apologizing and claiming he was intoxicated when he sent the previous message.

The student eventually identified Flaherty as the person who sent him the text message, according to the criminal complaint. In other text messages, Flaherty allegedly asked the boy and others to join him in an orgy. Another requested a picture of the boy's genitals to cover a $100 loan.

Police said after the boy refused the request, Flaherty send him additional text messages asking him to delete previous messages.

On Nov. 19, police obtained a search warrant requesting Flaherty's cell phone records, which linked the messages to his phone. The records indicated that 64 text messages were sent from Flaherty's phone to the youth's cell phone between the evening of Nov. 11 and the early morning hours of Nov. 14, the criminal complaint stated.

The affidavit said the boy told police he knew Flaherty and had received text messages in the past, but none of a sexual nature.

Flaherty resigned from his teaching position in December. The resignation, submitted for retirement purposes, was effective Jan. 20.

Shelley Shaneyfelt, Franklin Regional's director of instructional services and public relations, said the district would not comment on the situation because it is a human resources matter and because Flaherty is no longer an employee.

A preliminary hearing for Flaherty is set for Feb. 1 before Conway.

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