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Ex-York Country Day teacher pleads guilty to corrupting a 17-year-old student

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A former York Country Day School teacher has pleaded guilty to corruption of a minor and is expected to receive a county prison term when he is sentenced several months from now.

Stephen George Henise, 25, of Pleasant View Drive in Windsor Township, appeared Monday in York County Court, where he pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony corruption count as part of a negotiated plea agreement.

The agreement calls for Henise to be sentenced to three to 23 months in York County Prison, defense attorney Joe Gothie confirmed.

Henise has surrendered his teaching license, Gothie said, and under the terms of the agreement would have to register with state police as a sex offender for at least 15 years.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder has set sentencing for March 18.

Prior to sentencing, Henise must undergo a sexual-offender evaluation as part of the state's Megan's Law, court records state.

Stephen George Henise

Assuming the judge sentences Henise pursuant to the plea agreement, two counts of institutional sexual assault will be dropped at the sentencing hearing, Gothie confirmed.

Henise was a biology teacher at the private school, according to Mary Dolheimer, spokeswoman for York College, which is affiliated with York Country Day School.

"Mr. Henise’s employment was immediately terminated, and we have actively cooperated with law enforcement to ensure the continued safety of our school community," Dolheimer told The York Dispatch in October.

The background: Northern York County Regional Police, who investigated and filed charges, said Henise had sex twice with a York Country Day student after she turned 18 but that he and the girl met to talk and kiss while she was still 17 years old.

The institutional sexual assault charges had been filed because Pennsylvania law makes it illegal for school employees and volunteers to engage in sexual contact with students, even when the students are adults.

Charges were filed by Northern Regional Detective Mark Baker after the young woman's father found her and Henise together March 5 in a Dover Township home and called police, according to court documents.

The home where the student and Henise were found was owned by a friend of the student's family and was frequently vacant, police said.

The father told officers that when he went to the home to check on his daughter, he found her sleeping on the living-room floor with Henise, documents state.

Two days earlier, the father had found his daughter and Henise asleep together in the same living room, documents state.

During a police interview, the student said she met Henise at York Country Day School in April 2019, when he was her substitute teacher, documents state.

Met at parks: She said that in October 2019, she and Henise began to talk between school periods, according to police, who said by that time, the school had made Henise a full-time teacher.

She said Henise gave her his cellphone number in December and that they began to talk over the phone in late January or early February, documents state.

She also said she and Henise met at least five times at parks around York County, where they would talk and sometimes kiss, documents allege.

The student told detectives that after she turned 18 years old, she and Henise had sex twice, according to court documents.

Henise confirmed the young woman's account during a police interview, documents state.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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