NEW BRIGHTON, Pa., July 11 (UPI) -- A substitute teacher in Pennsylvania is charged with felony institutional sexual assault after police say the married 26-year-old had sex with two of her students.
After rumors about Tiffany Leiseth's relationship with the teenagers began to spread around the high school where she was a long-term substitute teacher, an investigation was launched leading to Leiseth's arrest.
"They had a rumor that a school teacher was sending nude photographs of herself to two male students," Moon Township Police Chief Leo McCarthy told CBS Pittsburgh. "They followed up on that rumor and they found those students, and they found the nude photographs, and they identified the teacher."
Police confirmed Leiseth had sent nude photographs of herself to both men in question, and when interviewed, each of the men admitted separately to sharing beers with Leiseth at her house before having sex with their former substitute English teacher.
But attorneys for Leiseth say the affairs were totally legal as both students were 18 years old and no longer students in Pennsylvania's New Brighton School District.
"She was not their teacher at the time, and they were not her students," defense attorney Mike Deriso said.
"My client did not pursue those boys. They are adults. They make their own decisions."
"Regardless of your age, whether you're an adult or not, if you're a high school student, a teacher cannot have sexual relations with you," McCarthy counters.
Officials also say the men were still Leiseth's students. Although they had fully completed their high school educations when the alleged affairs occurred, graduation ceremonies had not yet been held.
"Those kids are our students until they walk across that stage and get that diploma," the New Brighton Therefore, they were still students, so [institutional sexual assault] applies."
"The superintendent in New Brighton told us 'those kids are our students until they walk across that stage and get that diploma," McCarthy said. "Therefore, they were still students, so this law applies."