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Teacher's Aide Shoots Herself While Meeting With Student She Allegedly Sexually Assaulted
The Pennsylvania aide at a school for students with severe learning or emotional challenges was facing multiple felony counts after her July arrest.
A Pennsylvania teacher's aide has died of a self-inflected gunshot wound, while meeting with a student she was alleged to have sexually assaulted.
Jennilynne Derolf, 38, had been arrested and charged on July 15, 2021 in Bucks County, Penn. with five felony counts related to the sexual assault of a 14-year-old student of hers — involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault and institutional sexual assault — as well as two misdemeanor counts — indecent assault and corruption of minors.
Derolf met her alleged victim, referred to in charging documents as V.C., while serving as his teachers aide at the private Valley Day School in Morrisville, Penn. Valley Day School is a non-profit K-12 school serving public and charter school children in special education programs, who are classified as emotional disturbed, autistic or neurologically impaired and referred for additional assistance, according to their website. There are usually 85-100 students at any given point served by 50 staff members, since each classroom of no more than 12 students has a teacher and a paraprofessional in addition to whatever individual aides students are assigned according to their Individual Educational Plans and the school's five mental health professionals, according to EdSurge.
According to the charging documents in her case, V.C. told police that Derolf and he began communicating via the app Discord and meeting outside of the school, often at the Falls Township Park. It was there, while parked in her truck, that the child told police their relationship became "romantic" in June and they kissed.
The child then told police that Derolf "escalated" the contact in July, and initiated sexual intercourse three times with her victim, twice while parked in her truck at the nearby Levittown Lake and once at a location believed to be a children's ball field in nearby Bristol Township.
On July 13, V.C.'s grandmother discovered the assaults on her grandson and reported Derolf to police.
Derolf spent just over a week in jail before she posted 10 percent of her $100,000 bond on July 23, according to the Bucks County Courier-Times. The newspaper also reported that Valley Day School executive director Robert Phillips immediately suspended Derolf after her arrest and she was barred from entering the grounds and having contact with any students.
Shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Sunday Aug. 22, police say that they responded to a location on the outskirts of Falls Township Park — where the child reported his "romantic" relationship with Derolf had begun — at the request of V.C.'s family, who reportedly had discovered that Derolf had made contact with V.C. and arranged to meet him.
Upon their arrival, police say that they found Derolf and V.C. together. Derolf then shot herself and died from her injuries.
V.C., they say, was not physically injured.