Norwich Board of Education to discuss NFA investigation Tuesday

Norwich — The Board of Education will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the sexual assault arrest of a former NFA coach and the academy's quick dismissal of initial reports in April 2017 that the coach was having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

The Norwich school board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Kelly Middle School and will go into executive session for “Discussion of attorney-client privileged written communication pertaining to NFA investigation." Board attorneys Anne Littlefield and Peter Maher are expected to attend, and following the executive session, the board will consider voting on "possible action pertaining to the NFA investigation."

Board of Education Chairwoman Yvette Jacaruso said she was discussing the NFA situation with the board’s attorney and Superintendent Abby Dolliver and decided the entire board needed to hear the information, so they scheduled the special meeting.

“I want the board to hear it all at the same time,” she said.

Jacaruso said it’s been frustrating that NFA partner district officials have learned of the allegations through newspaper stories, and that NFA officials have not been forthcoming with information.

Dolliver said the board is expected to consider a correspondence to NFA regarding the investigation. She said she and Jacaruso will draft the proposed correspondence to present to the board in the closed-door session.

The board had planned to hold an executive session contract negotiation meeting Tuesday. That meeting was canceled and replaced with the discussion of the NFA situation.

Former assistant coach Anthony Facchini, 25, of Norwich was charged on Sept. 12 with two counts of second-degree sexual assault in connection with sexual relations he allegedly had with two female students at NFA while he was working at the school.

Police search warrants released Wednesday showed that NFA officials learned of the first alleged relationship in April 2017, when Curriculum Director Denise Grant brought the allegation to Director of Campus Safety Kevin Rodino. Rodino dismissed what he called a "vague" anonymous call as "unsubstantiated" after both Facchini and the student denied the allegation.

Rodino met with Head of School David Klein, Director of Student Affairs John Iovino and then-Athletic Director Eric Swallow at the time of the initial report. No NFA officials reported the allegations to Norwich police or to the state Department of Children and Families as required by state law.

Jacaruso, a retired special education director for Groton Public Schools, said she and her staff there were instructed to contact DCF and local authorities if they had any suspicions of improprieties involving students. She said they often made reports that were dismissed by those authorities but said it was not for the school staff to make that determination.

"If you're not sure, let them determine it," Jacaruso said. "You did your job."

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