Portsmouth school employee resigns after investigation into ‘inappropriate’ emails

PORTSMOUTH, RI (WPRI) — The Portsmouth School Superintendent confirmed that a district employee resigned following a school department investigation into her purported use of her school email account for sexually explicit email discussions.

Last week, the school clerk was suspended after the school department and school board members received a flash drive with videos, pictures, emails and texts. The electronic device was also given to Target 12.

The content in question included several messages that were apparently sent during school hours from the employee’s school email address. Many of the emails involved sexually descriptive language and references to partner-swapping.

“We’ve been with three couples, two long term,” one email sent from the employee’s school account read.

The employee’s attorney Frank Flanagan would not elaborate on the case or his client’s thoughts on the process.

“Out of respect for the privacy of everyone involved, we have no official comment,” Flanagan said.

Superintendent Ana Riley said the “safety and well-being of our students is our first priority at all times.”

“At no time was any student at risk, in danger, or otherwise affected by this incident,” Riley said in a statement. “The Portsmouth Public Schools will have no further information regarding this incident.”

Riley added that the investigation ended after the employee quit.

“The Portsmouth Public Schools were recently made aware of inappropriate use of school email by an employee,” Riley said. “A subsequent investigation into the matter was resolved with the resignation of that employee.”

A school board member confirmed that the information on the device led to the investigation and that the concern was over what if anything was sent on the school account during school hours. He said he could not say anything else because it is a personnel matter.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau