A female teacher at a Staten Island Catholic all-girls high school accused of having a physical relationship with a 16-year-old student was arraigned on sex abuse charges Thursday, according to the Staten Island district attorney’s office.
Danielle Johnsen, 29, who teaches science at Notre Dame Academy in Grymes Hill, reportedly turned herself in Wednesday after the school got wind of the relationship because of a blog post by the student.
Johnson was charged with sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She pleaded not guilty and was released without bail.
According to court documents, Johnsen and the student met three times earlier this year, twice in Johnsen's car and once at the teachers' Jewett Avenue home. The court documents said the two kissed all three times, and that on the third, Johnsen performed a sex act on the student.
Johnsen's attorney, Leo Duval, didn't return a call for comment, but told the Staten Island Advance: "There is absolutely no truth to the allegations. It is very clear to me that [the student] has made up this entire story. What’s not so clear is why.”
The scandal reportedly went public after Johnsen told the student she wanted to stop seeing her, after which the teen wrote about their alleged relationship on Tumblr. Her friends saw the post and told the school's guidance counselor, according to published reports.
The academy didn't return calls for comment, but the school's president, Sister Patricia Corley, told the New York Post Thursday that Johnsen, who has reportedly taught at the school for three years, is on leave and will be until the investigation is finished.
"When I turned this over to the DA, it was because the safety and well-being of our girls is the primary concern here," Corley said. "I’m going to let the DA’s office do their work."
Johnsen is due back in court in August, and a judge issued an order forbidding her from contacting the girl, according to the Daily News.