Warwick principal pleads not guilty to failing to report abuse

Colleen Mercurio, left, during her arraignment in Kent County District Court, December 11, 2017

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick elementary school teacher pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of failing to report child abuse.

Dr. Colleen Mercurio, who is principal of Cedar Hill Elementary School in Warwick,  turned herself in last month after an investigation by Warwick Police found that Mercurio was aware of an allegation of sexual abuse by one child against another child, but failed to report the incident to DCYF within 24 hours.

Photo: Warwick Police Department

Mercurio declined to comment following her brief appearance in Kent County District Court Monday. Her attorney, Thomas Gulick, told Eyewitness News that Mercurio has never had any disciplinary actions in her 15-year career as a school administrator and that she has always contacted DCYF when required.

Mercurio is only the third person in Rhode Island charged with failure to report since a law was enacted in 2016 requiring all school personnel to report possible child abuse to DCYF. She has been on paid administrative leave since mid-October.