Feeney admits guilt of unlawful behavior with Malvern student


Justice Bennett

Mrs. Emily Feeney at the time of her hiring at Malvern in 2013

After almost ten months since her dismissal in May 2015, Feeney was sentenced early on March 7, 2016.

Former Director of College Counseling and Assistant Swim Coach Mrs. Emily Feeney, 41, was sentenced to five years probation and 15 years as a registered sex offender, after admitting unlawful conduct with a student.

On March 7, 2016, Feeney pleaded guilty to charges of corruption of minors and indecent assault without consent of other, according to court documents.

“I think the good thing is that there was an admission of guilt… explicitly of unlawful behavior,” Head of School Mr. Christian Talbot said. “There was a clear and transparent process to address this problem. I think from a process standard, things went as well as they could have.”

Talbot said there are clear and unambiguous policies in the Employee Handbook that were in place before this incident. “We are paying attention to them now, and there’s a spotlight on them now – I think we are just noticing something that was always there, but there’s nothing new,” he said.

“I think it was something that forced us to pay attention very carefully to not just the relationships between students, which we take really seriously,” Talbot said. “It also made us more mindful of the situation more broadly speaking.”

Talbot denied any settlement discussions between the school and the defendant.

Talbot said that there have been no procedural changes as a result of this case. Malvern’s policy of pre-hire background checks and safe environment training for faculty and staff that must be renewed every three years will continue.

“The only additional piece is that… now we have a reason to talk about [safeguards and procedures] more frequently,” he said.

As of today, Feeney has paid $3,710 in restitution for the student’s ongoing counseling treatment, $200 in fines, and $250 for a DNA test.

According to philly.com, the student’s father said the counseling cost is for lasting damage to his son and the family.

During her five-year probation, Feeney must notify her Probation Officer before leaving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, according to general rules found on Chester County Court of Common Pleas website. Other conditions of probation include notification of any change in employment or residence.

Feeney will also become the sixth woman of the 376 currently registered non-incarcerated sex offenders in Chester County, according to the Megan’s Law database.

The Chester County Sex Offender Program carries out risk evaluations to determine the supervision requirements for offenders, from weekly visits to monthly visits, according to the program’s website.

Part of Feeney’s sentencing requires that she have no unsupervised contact with minor, teenage boys under the age of 15, no contact with children between ages 15 and 17, no contact with the victim or his family, and continued therapy.

This conviction is separate from a civil suit between the student and Malvern Swimming Association (MSA), where Feeney also served as a coach, according to Talbot.

Feeney was featured in our September 2013 issue when she was hired at Director of College Counseling.