LONDONDERRY — A Londonderry High School English teacher e-mailed four nude photos of herself to a 15-year-old student and also kissed the boy in a classroom twice, according to police.
Melinda Dennehy, 41, of Hampstead turned herself in to police yesterday morning and faces up to seven years in prison and a $4,000 fine for a single count of felony indecent exposure.
Police held a press conference yesterday to announce the arrest and released a redacted affidavit that said the 10th-grade teacher started sending nude pictures to the student two months ago. The boy's name was blacked out in the affidavit.
Police obtained a copy of one of the photographs this week and co-workers identified Dennehy.
After the student received the images, he distributed them to other students, the affidavit said.
The 15-year-old told police that Dennehy "continuously sent him text messages." In some of those messages, Dennehy told him she wanted to perform oral sex on him, the affidavit said.
In the two months since Dennehy sent the nude photos, she kissed the student on two occasions in a classroom at the school, the affidavit said.
Dennehy has been released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail and is to be arraigned in Derry District Court on March 23. She has been ordered not to have any contact with anyone under 16. Dennehy also has been ordered not to go onto school property, Londonderry police Chief William Hart said.
School administrators learned of the nude photographs Wednesday morning. Dennehy was then placed on administrative leave.
"It came to the attention of some school assistant principals and they took immediate action," Hart said.
He said the school administration contacted police within an hour of learning about the matter.
Wednesday was the first day of school this week after February vacation and regaining electricity following last week's storm. Dennehy's name was removed from the school's Web site Wednesday afternoon.
Superintendent Nate Greenberg said Dennehy was hired by the school district three years ago. Education was Dennehy's second career after working in the private sector.
She started working in the district after graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 2007 with a master's degree in education.
Greenberg said there had been no previous complaints about Dennehy.
The superintendent also said the school would conduct its own investigation and that the state Department of Education was already notified.
Hart said he does not believe any additional charges will be filed.
Dennehy could not be reached for comment at her home at 15 Cambridge Road in Hampstead.
News of Dennehy's arrest spread quickly among students yesterday.
Junior Brian Healy said he saw Dennehy clear some things from her classroom Wednesday, but photographs of her two children and most of her other belongings still remained.
Healy and junior Nick Lavallee said the boy who received the photographs had not been in school the last two days.
"Nobody knows where he is," Lavallee said.
Lavallee said he heard rumors about the photographs two months ago but didn't believe them until this week.
Taylor Brown, a senior who was in one of Dennehy's classes two years ago, said she didn't believe the news when she heard students talking about it Wednesday.
"It was completely out of character," Brown said.
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