Multiple Employees involved in Sexual Abuse at Plum High School
Pennsylvania – Rumors have allegedly been wandering through the halls of Plum High School regarding sexual relationships between students and teachers. The Superintendent, Timothy Glasspool, Principal, and other staff members were aware of these rumors and failed to take action according to the school’s guidelines. Currently, two former teachers, Joseph Ruggieri and Jason Cooper, are serving jail time after pleading guilty, for having sexual relations with students.
Two other employees, Michael Cinefra and Drew Zoldak are awaiting their trial. Cinefra, ex-coach and teacher, was accused of sexual contact and permitting underage drinking by providing alcohol to a student. Cinefra is also facing other unidentified allegations. Zoldak was accused of “pointing out” a student in the class who happened to be Ruggieri’s victim while he was explaining his delay to work, which involved questioning by representatives from the district attorney’s office.
Plum High School is located in Plum Borough School District. The middle-class area consists of nearly 27,000 residents, and approximately 4,100 of those residents are students. Although the area may appear to be safe, sex crime still managed to invade the privacy of the students and their families. Due to the lack of protection the student received from their Superintendent and Principal, both individuals have been place on a paid leave until further notice.
The senior class president has also requested them both to be absent from the upcoming commencement ceremony. Another senior expressed her thoughts by telling the Superintendent, “You don’t deserve to be at my graduation.” The student also spoke on behalf of the entire student class saying, “We don’t want you here. Don’t show up.” The students cannot comprehend how the school allowed a treacherous activity, sexual abuse, to go on for so long.
Currently, a law firm hired by the school’s district is investigating the alleged negligence by the Superintendent and Principal. Other employees who may have been aware of the criminal sexual conduct are also being thoroughly scrutinized. The findings of the investigation will help the school officials determine whose employment should be terminated.
There have been several changes to the state law after the Penn State sex abuse scandal. According to the old guideline, there is a chance the administrative staff is not at fault for disregarding a report for sexual abuse rumors. However, the most recent and enforced guidelines could lead to prosecution, according to an internal investigation report by a grand jury.
After carefully reviewing the actions of the administrative staff, the grand jury concluded that the administrative staff was more focused on salvaging the reputation of the school than the sanity of the student body that was tainted by sexual abuse. The report stated that two staff members informed the Superintendent in 2014 about a Twitter post that alleged Ruggieri was sexually active with a student, and the Superintendent inquired if the report was a “cover your ass,” scenario.
School Administrator attempts to change Protection for Students
William Chapla is an administrator and parent of a senior attending Plum High School. Chapla stated, “I feel like I’ve been in a street fight for the last 16 months.” After Chapla realized the safety of the students was in jeopardy, he volunteered his personal time to develop ways to protect the students from employees who prey on children amongst other harmful activities. Although Chapla acknowledged the workplace misconduct long ago, he said, “It essentially took six months before they even acknowledged there was a problem, and we should be taking corrective actions.”
Results of the Grand Jury
The investigation by the grand jury determined that there wasn’t any criminal misconduct on the administrative staff part in terms of reporting the sexual abuse rumors. In court, it’s not about what you know. It’s about what you can prove. The grand jury said they could not prove if Plum High School was shielding the sexual abuse or genuinely misinformed about the proper way to handle the situation according to the law. The Associated Press said grand jury confirmed the Superintendent, Principal, and various staff members were aware of the sexual abuse rumors. The culture of reporting sexual abuse remains in question.
Employment Law Attorneys Available
In order to discover a solution to the sexual abuse that damaged Plum High School, individuals must seek a change in the way they resolve sexual abuse allegations. If you have ever witnessed or experienced sexual abuse working at a school in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.