WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — After months of legal wrangling, the Warwick School Department Wednesday released a redacted report concerning how the school department handled allegations of sexual misconduct against a teacher.
The so-called Ragosta Report is named after Vincent Ragosta, Jr., the Providence attorney the Warwick School Committee hired last April following the arrest of Gorton Junior High School science teacher Mario Atoyan.
Atoyan was charged last year with first- and second-degree sexual assault of a 15-year-old relative in 2014. The accuser was not a student at Gorton and then-School Superintendent Richard D’Agostino maintained Atoyan had never been involved in any inappropriate behavior at the school that would endanger students. However, following Atoyan’s arrest a parent of a Gorton student told police Atoyan had drawn a sexually explicit picture on her daughter’s hand in 2013. The woman said school administrators were aware of the incident, yet no one, with the exception of Gorton’s principal, interviewed her about it or followed up with her until news of Atoyan’s 2015 arrest surfaced.
At the completion of the investigation, Ragosta delivered a verbal report to the school committee last May. He said the school department acted irresponsibly when disciplining Atoyan following the 2013 incident. The teacher was reprimanded for the incident but was allowed to keep his job. The report focused on three top administrators – D’Agostino, former Directory of Secondary Education Dennis Mullen – who have both since retired – and former Warwick Schools compliance officer and current Director of Human Resources Rosemary Healey.
Eyewitness News has reached out to those key players, but have not yet heard back as of this writing.
Reached Thursday, Ragosta said his report offers “an unvarnished glimpse into the events” that occurred. He praised Jeffrey Taylor, Gorton’s principal, for doing an “excellent job” collecting facts about the incident that occurred in his school, but said Warwick school administrators should have taken action.
Even though Ragosta’s report has been completed for months, the school department had refused to release the transcripts until the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office recently directed the school department to do so.
The legal wrangling is not over.
According to The Associated Press, a lawyer representing Healey is threatening to file suit against The Warwick Beacon and Warwick Post if the media outlets publish anything about his client.
Healey’s lawyer, Jeffrey Sowa, has ordered the Beacon and Post to “cease and desist from publishing any matters relating to” Healey. Sowa says the publishers would “not be insulated from liability” if they release the report. Sowa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has agreed to represent the Beacon and Post should Healey sue.
Eyewitness News filed a public records request with the law firm representing the school department and received the below document, which is redacted to protect the names of students and their parents.