MORRIS PLAINS — A former Parippany Hills English teacher will spend five years in prison for trading inappropriate texts with a student.

Judge Salem V. Ahto said Jenna Leahey, 35, sent texts with "vivid, lurid details," to the student starting in 2013, according to a statement from Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp's office.

She later sent explicit pictures, and "the relationship continued through June 6 of that year with acts occurring on and off school grounds," the statement from Knapp's office said.

According to a report by the Daily Record, Leahey and her attorney told the judge she engaged in the texts in part because of the teen's "aggressive" sexual pursuit of her — at times describing it as assault.

"I am guilty of texting my student. At the time I did it I thought it would help to end the ongoing sexual assault. Now I realize there were and are far better ways to have dealt with the situation. I'm deeply ashamed and embarrassed for what I've done. Please know there was no malice in my actions," Leahey said, according to that report.

"The state prison sentence for this offender will hopefully send a message that the abuse of children, in any way shape or form, by those in positions of authority will not be tolerated," Knapp said.

Leahey was charged with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, one count of second-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree official misconduct, and three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Knapp said she pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in conduct that would debauch or impair the morals of a minor, for the explicit messages.

"Of all people, she knew and understood the significance and power of words," Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez said in the statement from Knapp's office.

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