Downingtown officer charged with having inappropriate relationship with underage student

DOWNINGTON BOROUGH, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Downingtown, Pennsylvania police officer is facing charges for having an inappropriate relationship with an underage student.

Officials say 44-year-old Stefanie Dunne was arrested on Tuesday.

Dunne was a police officer who served as a school resource officer at Downingtown West High School. She is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 9th grader.

According to the Chester County District Attorney's Office, Dunne was found semi-clothed in the back of a parked vehicle with a 17-year-old boy on May 4, 2019.

"She actually began the relationship with the young man after he had transferred out of that school, but he was still under the age of 18," said Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Mike Noone.

Investigators say they later found thousands of messages and pictures between the officer and the student on the teen's phone.

"They are there to make sure the children are safe. They are to make sure that the community knows the school is taking care of their kids, and the officer betrayed that responsibility," said Noone.

A further search of the victim's home revealed photos of Dunne and 6,000 text messages between the pair dating back to 2018, authorities said. Many of the messages apparently contained intimate references and sexual innuendo.

"Good morning, I love you soo much, you made everything go away and brought me to my magical bright world where I know you love me," read one text message from the victim to Dunne.

"Good morning love, you just made me smile. I miss you already, and I can't wait to see you later," Dunne said back to the victim in another text message.

"Downingtown Area School District strongly condemns the actions necessitating the officer's dismissal and applaud the police for their quick action in this matter. Upon notification by the police about the impending investigation, the School Resource Officer (SRO) was immediately removed from her placement in the district," said the Downingtown Area School District in a statement.

Dunne, who is a married mother of four young children, is being charged with corruption of minors. She has a preliminary hearing set for September 11, 2019.

Downingtown Chief Howard Holland says the department is extremely shocked and disappointed in this former officer.
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