Victim in sex-assault case allowed to contact former teacher

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
McGarry -

WILKES-BARRE — In an unusual turn, the victim of a former teacher who pleaded guilty to having a sexual relation with her has filed to be allowed to contact her.

Colleen McGarry, 47, pleaded guilty in March 2017 to counts of institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors and furnishing a minor with alcohol.

McGarry, formerly of the Pittston school district, committed these acts in pursuance of a “romantic relationship” with a 17-year-old girl in her calculus class. The relationship began in 2015, prosecutors said.

The Pittston woman was sentenced in August to spend between four and 24 months in prison followed by three years of probation, to register as a sex offender for 25 years and to have no contact with the victim. Records show she was paroled last December.

But this week, the final part of that sentence has been changed.

This week, McGarry’s victim, who is now 20, filed a petition asking for McGarry’s sentence to be modified — specifically, the young woman wishes to be able to contact McGarry.

The filing comes through her attorney, Matthew L. Clemente.

The victim, whose name is left out of the court filing, said in the filing she does not see McGarry as a threat.

“(The victim) does not feel victimized by Colleen,” the filing says. “To the contrary, (she) wishes to contact Colleen.”

The woman’s filing suggests that she perceives McGarry as a “mentor, close friend and companion.”

Clemente’s filing says prosecutors were aware of the filing, and neither consented or objected to it.

Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr., who sentenced McGarry last year, signed an order Thursday allowing contact between McGarry and the woman.

During a sentencing which Sklarosky called “atypical,” the judge referred to a letter of glowing support for McGarry written by the victim.

At the time, Assistant District Attorney Nancy Violi noted that the victim’s feelings about McGarry may change overtime, and pushed for a sentence within the standard range to emphasize the seriousness of the crime.


By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan