CLEVELAND – A teacher from Saint Joseph Academy in Cleveland is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with former students.
A letter went out to parents on Friday, notifying them that a teacher is under criminal investigation for his alleged involvement in a sexual relationship with students who graduated from the school some years ago.
According to the school, the teacher was questioned by police Thursday night, and was immediately placed on administrative leave.
The school says a second teacher also resigned after admitting that he knew of the relationship and did not report the information.
A statement from Saint Joseph Academy reads: “Protecting our students and creating a safe, nuturing learning environment is our highest priority. We were outraged and saddened to learn that someone on our faculty may have taken advantage of his position to harm our girls–and simply aghast that another faculty member had knowledge about this and failed to properly and immediately report it to us.”
Sunday, the Saint Joseph campus was in shock.
“I’m very concerned, especially with us being Muslims and how our ways are, very strict, so that was something that was very concerning,” explains Fida Abbas, whose daughter is a freshman at Saint Joseph Academy.
Abbas says she feels the school handled the situation appropriately, but she tells Fox 8 she did have to ease her daughter’s concerns.
“We talked to her about it, that. . . they’re going to get a new teacher in that classroom, and the teachers are there to help her.”
But not everyone is convinced the allegations are true.
“I just don’t think it ever happened, because I don’t think any father would do something that they wouldn’t want some guy doing to their daughter,” says 2008 St. Joseph graduate, Jillian Zarefoss, who also happens to be a neighbor to the accused.
Cleveland Police will only say they are investigating the allegations. So far neither police nor the school will say when the alleged incident occurred or how many former students may have been involved.
According to the school, the teacher has also been instructed to have no contact with students or anyone else in the St. Joseph Academy community during the investigation.