SADDLE BROOK — A former counselor at a special-needs school has been charged with raping an underage student.

Prosectors said Wednesday that Ellen Terpening, 53, of Fair Lawn, sexually assaulted the student from September 2016 to March 2018.

Prosecutors say the assaults took place at the Brownstone School in this township as well as at her home after Terpening stopped working for the school as an assistant student counselor. Officials did not say Wednesday why she left her position.

The school is part of the Bergen County Special Services district, which provides schooling for special-needs students. The school serves elementary and middle school grades.

Prosecutors on Wednesday did not reveal the age or gender of the victim.

The allegations were first reported to the Bergen County Sheriff's Office on Monday. Terpening was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, second- and third-degree child endangerment and third-degree aggravated sexual contact.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that the divorced woman was most recently employed as an animal rescue worker.

New Jersey 101.5 did not know Wednesday whether Terpening had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.


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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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