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Former Bergen Special Needs Counselor, 53, Charged With Sexually Assaulting Underage Student

Ellen Terpening
Ellen Terpening Photo Credit: MUGSHOT

Authorities charged a former Long Island woman who had been working in a supervisor position at a New Jersey special needs school with the statutory rape of an underage student.

Ellen Terpening, a divorced animal rescue worker formerly of Floral Park in Nassau County, remained held Wednesday in the Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Terpening "engaged in sexual conduct" with the student between September 2016 and March 2018 while she was the youngster's assistant counselor at the Brownstone School in Saddle Brook and at her home after she had left her position at the school, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.

State records list Terpening, formerly of Floral Park (Long Island), as a former counselor with the Bergen County Special Services School District.

She's charged with aggravated sexual assault on a victim between 13 and 16 years old while in a supervisory position, aggravated criminal sexual contact, sexual assault and two counts of child endangerment. She was booked into the county lockup on Wednesday, records show.

The Brownstone School offers "differentiated educational services to preK-8th grade students in a therapeutic setting," according to its literature.

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