● Published by J. Chambless
A substitute teacher’s aide has been charged with institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors, and related charges after allegedly engaging in sexual activities with two Unionville High School students in August and September of this year.
According to a release from the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, Sheri Maufort, 42, allegedly kissed and performed a sexual act on one male student under the age of 18 in a field near a restaurant in Birmingham.
Maufort is a married West Chester resident. She met both students in a class where she worked as a substitute teacher’s aide. According to the affidavit released by the District Attorney’s office, she contacted the first teen by text message on Aug. 20. Maufort reportedly picked the victim up outside his home, gave him alcohol, and took him to the restaurant in Birmingham before venturing into a nearby field to perform the alleged sexual act, according to authorities. At this time, Maufort’s husband showed up at the restaurant. Maufort allegedly told the teen not to tell anyone what had happened, and to get in touch when he turned 18. According to the District Attorney’s report, Maufort’s husband drove the first victim home. About three weeks later, she allegedly touched a second victim’s penis after she picked him up at party shortly following a high-school football game.
The second victim, who was 18 but still a student, met Maufort at a party. Maufort allegedly drove with him, parked the car, kissed him and touched his genitals before taking him back to the party.
According to the District Attorney, the incidents occurred in August and September of 2016, and were reported to police on Nov. 11. Pennsylvania State Police investigated this incident with the assistance of Chester County Detectives.
Also in the news release, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District superintendent John Sanville wrote that the incident was immediately reported to law enforcement. “We now will begin the difficult task of addressing this incident with our students, parents, and teachers,” Sanville wrote.
On Nov. 16, Sanville posted a letter to the school community on the district's website. "We are shocked and disappointed by this news," he wrote. "In this case, after an administrator heard a rumor about the alleged crimes, we immediately called the Chester County District Attorney. We fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by the District Attorney and the Pennsylvania State Police.
"We want to assure you that Ms. Maufort, who has worked in our schools on 25 occasions, dating back to May of 2015 (11 days at Unionville High School), had completed all background checks and obtained all clearances as required by both the state of Pennsylvania and the Substitute Teacher Service (STS) with whom she was employeed. It appears that the encounters with the victims occurred out of school, during August and September of 2016.
"Though cases like this one are the anomaly, we are committed to ensuring our students’ safety and will work with STS (the substitute provider for UCFSD) to conduct a review of all substitute clearances and background checks," Sanville wrote. "We take great pride in the quality of our faculty and staff as they are the backbone of UCFSD. Instead we have all been forced to understand that there are predators, and sometimes they invade where we live. Take comfort in the knowledge that UCFSD moved rapidly and without hesitation because the safety of our students is always paramount. Going forward, we will be available to speak to students and the community -- in small groups or one-on-one as requested. Our counseling team is prepared as well."