Family to Sue After Teacher's Sexual Assault Arrest in New Haven

A family is suing the City of New Haven and the New Haven Board of Education for negligence after a drama teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student was arrested.

According to documents, the family alleges that the City of New Haven and/or the New Haven Board of Education was negligent after a minor allegedly became involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a teacher. 

Jennifer Frechette, 44, a Wilbur Cross High School drama teacher, is accused of sexually assaulting a student, according to court documents. She faces sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor charges.

District administrators and security staff responded to allegations of inappropriate conduct with Frechette and a student on Jan. 5, according to the school.

According to the arrest warrant, the investigation began when school security officers found the student and Frechette together in a dressing room used for school plays. Security officers also found battery-operated tea light candles, a mat that was set up with a quilt and pillows, and unused condoms in the room.

The security officers said that Frechette kept saying “I don’t know what I was thinking,” and asked if they would let her go.

The warrant said Frechette denied to officers anything inappropriate happened between her and the student and said she was discussing the school play with him. But in February, the school nurse said the victim requested a test for sexually transmitted diseases and he admitted Frechette performed a sex act on him. The nurse notified police.

Police also found inappropriate text message conversations with Frechette on the victim's cell phone.

The student's parents were notified and Frechette was immediately placed on paid leave pending the results of a police investigation.

A letter sent out by the school district informed other parents of the allegations.

"A breach of that responsibility by any staff member is cause for concern. The arrest of a New Haven teacher on allegations of sexual assault and risk of injury is deeply troubling," the letter reads.

In a statement to NBC Connecticut Interim Superintendent Dr. Reginald Mayo said, “My heart goes out to the victim in this case and we will continue to offer any and all support that we can.”

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