A guidance counselor and swim coach at an all-boys prep school in Philadelphia's Main Line promised to help get a teenager into an elite Ivy League college while sending the 16-year-old a series of “highly sexualized” emails and text messages, according to police.
“I adore you – always have, always will,” read one of the messages that Chester County detectives accuse former Malvern Prep counselor and coach Emily Feeney sent to the teen.
Hundreds of messages – some sent from the 40-year-old’s school-issued email account – began in the summer of 2014, said Chester County detectives in an affidavit of probable cause.
The messages included a topless photo sent to the boy’s cellphone and various emails, including one that stated, “girls will come and go (and it sounds like this one won’t be doing much coming but that’s your problem) but friends do not. You can’t ignore and screw over friends for a girl, or a swim meet or anything else. You’ve done that repeatedly to me and I’ve had enough. I don’t need it.”
The boy, a swimmer at the school, repeatedly told Feeney – a married mother whose family has a legacy at Malvern Prep – he had no interest in a sexual relationship with her, said investigators.
“I’m not interested in you end of story I’m 16 I’m not into you,” read a message the boy wrote to Feeney in February.
"Her response to that was to ratchet up the pressure," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.
But the messages and emails – many non-professional and sexually suggestive – continued, said detectives. Feeney, who previously worked at Ivy institutions, such as Princeton and Columbia universities, used her position as top college counselor and the promise of helping the boy gain admission to Harvard University and onto the Ivy League school’s swim team to try and get the boy into a physical relationship, said investigators.
She concluded one email from July 2014 with the caveat, “You (victim) owe me big time. And no high fives,” said investigators.
“The defendant was entrusted with extraordinary access to and control over Malvern Prep students,” said Hogan. “She betrayed that trust by trying to seduce a student, even when he asked her to stop. The fact that this was a female adult corrupting a male juvenile does not change the criminality of the conduct.”
Some of the other messages investigators say Feeney sent the boy included:
“If you’d just stop fighting and let it happen, you’d be a lot less uptight and much happier.”
“I am reopening this conversation in two years when you graduate. No one would get in trouble and it would be so worth it. Tabled for two years.”
She also allegedly sent a series of emails over 10 days in January in which said she said she missed him and felt raw and awkward while begging the boy to talk to her. “You are gorgeous and this is killing me, please talk to me, she wrote, according to investigators. She also allegedly wrote, “I know you don’t want me calling you into my office.”
Investigators learned of the messages in mid-May after the boy told his parents and began investigating, said Hogan. They said the two never made full sexual contact, only sharing a kiss.
Feeney turned herself into Chester County court Tuesday afternoon – making no comment as she arrived. A judge arraigned her on four counts including unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault and sexual contact with a student then released her on unsecured bond, said court records.
After the hearing, Feeney's attorney asked for the public to hold out judgment.
"Our position is that we are going to look at the case and we are going to make some decisions about what was appropriate to do here," said attorney Mike Engel.
The school put Feeney on leave back in May and later terminated her employment.