UHS aide’s sex trial put on hold

WEST CHESTER >> The attorney for a former teacher’s aide at Unionville High School accused of having sex with two students there on Monday asked the Common Pleas Court judge overseeing her upcoming trial to keep the prosecution from presenting evidence that she allegedly smoked marijuana with one of teenagers.

Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien, who is handling the case for the DA’s Child Abuse Unit, last week filed a motion asking Judge Patrick Carmody for permission to include testimony about aide Sheri Maufort’s use of the drug at a party she threw for her daughter at her family’s home outside West Chester.

O’Brien said in court that presenting a jury with the evidence would help establish that Maufort had been engaged in similar activity with both the youth and another of her alleged victims, with whom she was apparently videotaped drinking alcohol at the party in the spring of 2016. It would also show that Maufort had previous contact with the then-17-year-old Unionville student.

But defense attorney Lloyd Long of Philadelphia, representing Maufort, argued that introduction of the marijuana smoking episode would prejudice his client, since she is not being charged with providing the drug. He said that it was clear that the youth would know who his client was, since she was also a parent of a child in his class at the school in East Marlborough.

Advertisement

Carmody said he would decide the matter before Maufort’s trial, which is now scheduled to begin Nov. 27. The case was listed for trial Monday, but will be delayed as Carmody works through the issue of Maufort’s alleged use of marijuana.

Maufort, 43, is charged with institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children, and related counts stemming from her contact with the two students, who were 17 and 18 at the time. According to the criminal complaint filed by state Trooper Jason Pennington, Maufort allegedly kissed and performed oral sex on the 17-year-old in a parking lot outside a Birmingham restaurant after giving him alcohol.

She allegedly also touched the second victim’s penis after she picked him up at party shortly following a high school football game, according to authorities.

Both incidents occurred the same night, Sept. 16, 2016, according to O’Brien. Initially, authorities believed the first episode had occurred a month prior, in August. But O’Brien said further investigation showed that the 17-year-old and Maufort had telephone contact the night of Sept. 16, and asked Carmody that the complaint against her be adjusted to fit that timeline. He agreed.

Although he did not address Maufort’s defense against the charges involving the 18-year-old, he suggested that he would argue to the jury in the case that the 17-year-old was making up the details of what happened between them because he was upset about being fired from performing at a neighbor’s party with his band because he was under the influence of marijuana, and blamed Maufort — because she had hired him to work the “gig.”

According to the affidavit released by the district attorney’s office, she contacted the 17-year-old by text message, stating she wanted to hang out with him.

Maufort reportedly picked the victim up outside his home, gave him alcohol, and took him to the restaurant in Birmingham before venturing into the nearby field to perform the alleged sexual act, authorities said.

The affidavit states Maufort continued to perform oral sex until the first victim asked her to stop, worried that someone might see them. At this time, Maufort’s husband showed up to the restaurant.

She reportedly told the first victim not to tell anyone what had occurred and to get in touch when he turned 18. According to the prosecution, Maufort’s husband drove the first victim home after showing up to the restaurant.

The second victim, who was 18 at the time of the incident but still a student, ran into Maufort at a party. Maufort allegedly drove the male victim out of the neighborhood, parked the car, kissed him, and touched his penis before taking him back to the party, according to authorities.

The incidents were reported to the authorities on Nov. 11.

To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.