Las Vegas Sun

September 1, 2014

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Bishop Gorman teachers quit amid sex allegations

Two teachers at Bishop Gorman Catholic High School have resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct with students, according to a diocese official and police.

The Rev. Pat Leary, vicar general of the Las Vegas diocese, said two female students made the sexual misconduct allegations to their school counselors on Friday.

"The two teachers were placed on administrative leave and they subsequently resigned. Then the police were notified," Leary said.

Henderson Police are handling the investigation, Leary said, because that is where the alleged misconduct took place.

Capt. Richard Perkins, who is in charge of the investigation, said Tuesday that police hoped to have it wrapped up today.

"It looks like the new law, which covers a teacher having consensual sex with a student, may apply," Perkins said.

Perkins was referring to legislation passed this year that makes it a felony for a teacher to have sex with a student under age 18.

Bishop Gorman's policy on sexual misconduct states that teachers accused of sexual misconduct may be put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The policy also reflects the Nevada law requiring that a report be made to police when certain allegations are made. Those allegations include child abuse, sexual interaction, sexual assault, statutory sexual seduction, solicitation of a minor, incest, indecent or obscene exposure, lewdness with a child under the age of 14 years, and infamous crimes against nature in public.

Leary would not say what type of sexual misconduct the teachers were accused of.

"Our main concern right now is for the students and their families," Leary said. "We're dealing with that right now and working with them now."

Leary said counseling had been offered to the two girls and their families. "If other needs are defined in the future, we certainly will do our best to do that as well."

Leary said that in the seven years he has been associated with the Las Vegas diocese, other sexual misconduct allegations have been made against teachers but none have resulted in a police investigation. Leary stressed that if current or former students believe they have been a victim of sexual misconduct, they should report the incident to either a school or church official or the police.

"If something has happened to (a student) in any of their years at this school, we want to hear about it," Leary said. "Anything that has happened to former or current students, we want to know."

Bishop Gorman parent Jennifer Pitterle said her daughter told her that the school's principal, David Erbach, told students on Monday that the teachers had been asked to resign.

She's angry, she said, that parents have been left out of the information loop.

"What bothers me is that nobody has bothered to write an open letter to the parents telling them what has occurred," Pitterle said. "Today, there should have been something sent home in my daughter's book bag" to counter the rumors that are circulating on the campus.

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