Ex-Franklin Regional teacher denies he sent texts to teen
Records indicate that 64 text messages were sent from Terrence Flaherty's phone to a youth's cell phone between Nov. 11 and 14.
A former Franklin Regional High School teacher charged with sending sexually explicit text messages to a male student in November denied Tuesday that he sent the messages.
"No, of course not," Terrence Flaherty said outside a Murrysville courtroom. "No, no, absolutely not."
Flaherty, 58, of 123 Pheasant Drive, Penn Hills, is charged 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 waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday before District Judge Charles Conway.
Outside Conway's courtroom, Flaherty's attorney, Duke George, said his client did not send the messages.
"We know who did. It was not my client," George said. "There was someone else in the house.
"The text messages came from one phone to another. The commonwealth is going to have difficulty proving who sent the text messages. The boy acknowledges that someone else may have sent the text messages."
According to Murrysville police, officers were informed Nov. 13 that a student younger than 18 had received a text message from a teacher requesting nude pictures of him. In another message, the teacher allegedly apologized and claimed he was intoxicated when he sent the previous message.
The student eventually said Flaherty had sent him the messages, according to the criminal complaint. Other messages allegedly asked the boy and others to join him in an orgy, and another requested a picture of the boy's genitals as payment for a $100 loan.
Records indicate that 64 text messages were sent from Flaherty's phone to the youth's cell phone between Nov. 11 and 14, the criminal complaint said.
Yesterday, George said a number of students had Flaherty's cell phone number because he was involved with the district's anti-bullying program.
"My client and this young boy have known each other for three years. There have been hundreds of text messages, phone calls. Any time this boy had problems at home, any time this boy had any problems at school, he would go to Mr. Flaherty, and Mr. Flaherty would help him out during these trying times," George said. "The only time that there was any window of anything sexual was this night."
George said he needs more time to investigate before going to court.
"We need some additional discovery in preparation for the defense of this case. That discovery wasn't available today," George said. "There's additional information that we need to review those text messages with the other evidence the commonwealth is going to present at the trial."
Attorney Joseph Paletta, who is representing the victim's family, came to court yesterday to observe.
"The family has decided nothing in particular," Paletta said. "They're leaving all their options open. ... They have not decided what to do, if anything."
Conway changed one condition of Flaherty's release. He is permitted contact with Franklin Regional employees. He still is not permitted contact with minors and school district students and administrators, except for official meetings. He must continue treatment at Greenbriar Treatment Center, undergo a mental health evaluation and follow recommendations.
A social studies teacher at Franklin Regional for about 30 years, Flaherty retired from his position, effective Jan. 20.
He faces formal arraignment March 23 before a Westmoreland County judge.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves ahead
- Home of LeNature’s exec up for sale
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Unity name excised from Latrobe parks, recreation
- Mt. Pleasant man charged with unlawful restraint
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg bestows $30K to combat poverty