Commissioner Pare: School molestation investigation is complete

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A months-long Providence police investigation that led to the arrest of an elementary school gym teacher for allegedly molesting multiple children as well as charges against the school’s principal for failing to report the victims’ allegations to the proper authorities has been completed, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said Sunday.

In an email to Eyewitness News, Pare said no other school department employees have been charged in connection with the investigation. School Superintendent Christopher Maher has repeatedly said his department would not consider disciplinary action against any workers until the police probe was complete.

Police charged James Duffy, a physical education teacher at Harry Kizirian Elementary School, with five counts of second-degree child molestation on June 29. He is accused of inappropriately touching three 11-year-old girls. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 7 and remains on paid administrative leave from the district.

The school’s principal, Violet LeMar, was charged in August with a misdemeanor for failing to contact the R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) after learning about the children’s allegations. State law requires anyone who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been the victim of sexual abuse to report it to DCYF within 24 hours. She has pleaded not guilty and was placed on leave by the district.

The fallout from the investigation prompted the district to hold mandatory training sessions for every school employee on the DCYF reporting law.

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Dan McGowan ( ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan