This week’s twentysomething counselor at a fancypants private school busted for allegedly traumatizing a male teen student with some sex romps is Kenleigh Paige Prendergast.
Prendergast, 25, was — until this weekend — a counselor at Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg, South Carolina five months ago. She began her very brief, five-month career there in August. School officials fired her on March 31, reports local CBS affiliate WSPA-TV.
According to an incident report filed last week by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, sparks flew between Prendergast and her student paramour (who is either 16 or 17 years old) after they met at the $19,230-per-year school.
On Friday, the incident report says, Prendergast confessed to having after-school trysts with the teen student in a private, off-campus office she uses for her private counseling practice.
The student-counselor fling began in January 2018 and ended “several days” before the sheriff’s office received a tip which led to the investigation, according to the incident report obtained by WSPA-TV.
In a March 30 interview, sheriff’s deputies say, Prendergast admitted to having sex with the teen and spilled many details of the affair. Those details included a bevy of requisite texts as well as Facetime video calls — both during school and after school hours.
All this correspondence eventually led to the meetings at Prendergast’s private practice office — a once-stately old house now divided up into business suites.
Spartanburg Day School released a statement through the Sheriff’s Office, according to the Spartanburg Herald Journal.
“SDS puts the safety and wellbeing of our students above all things and will cooperate fully with the Sheriff’s Office throughout this process,” the statement explained in part.
“Effective immediately, Ms. Prendergast’s employment with the school has been terminated,” the statement also said.
Spartanburg Day School is a 450-student bastion with an impressive endowment of $18 million.
A single year of high school tuition at Spartanburg Day School costs $19,230. A single year of kindergarten costs $13,817.
Students “feel safe to take risks, own their learning and achieve their personal best,” the private school’s website confidently proclaims.
In a verified online profile at Psychology Today that is likely to be deleted soon, Prendergast describes herself as “a licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Intern” who is “extremely passionate” about providing therapy.
“I have a special interest in working with individuals from adolescence (12+) into adulthood,” Prendergast explains. “I have several years of experience working in a variety of school environments, and have developed a passion for working with teens struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem/confidence and difficult life transitions (new school, parents divorcing, romantic break-ups, etc.).”
“I am very passionate about helping people process and manage symptoms of anxiety and low self-esteem,” she also says.
After the interview with sheriff’s deputies on Friday, the deputies arrested Prendergast on charges of sexual battery with a 16- or 17-year-old student with no aggravated force or coercion.
The terms of Prendergast’s presumed bail are unclear.