NFA's hierarchy, somehow, continues to walk between the raindrops
News item: Norwich Free Academy Head of School David Klein was cleared of wrongdoing Monday in the Board of Trustees' independent investigation into the academy's quick dismissal of allegations in April 2017, when a then-assistant track coach was engaging in sexual relations with a student.
The board voted unanimously following a nearly two-hour executive session Monday that Klein "did not engage in inappropriate or wrongful conduct regarding matters within the scope of the investigation."
Reaction to the news item: Nooooooooo. Really?
The "investigation" commissioned for NFA, by NFA and through NFA absolved the leader of NFA? Holy epiphanies, Batman. It's like Robert Kraft assembling a team of detectives after Spygate and then calling a news conference to proclaim Bill Belichick's innocence.
Not only was this "investigation" a sham, but patently irrelevant. Law enforcement and the legal system — and only law enforcement and the legal system — get to be Mr. Klein's judge and juror. This "investigation" only served to suit, service, reinforce and intensify the predispositions of all NFA apologists.
Speaking of law enforcement: Where, exactly, are the Norwich police on this? How much longer do they need to investigate? What, exactly, did they investigate? Where is Michael Regan, the New London County State's Attorney? Are we to believe Mr. Regan has yet to see further arrest warrants on this matter across his desk? Is Mr. Regan prepared to act, or hope this all goes away?
Does Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane care about any of this?
Because let's remember the true issue here: A former male assistant coach — NFA graduate Anthony Facchini — engaged in two inappropriate sexual relationships with female students. Now we're told, through the bought-and-paid-for "investigation," that the man in charge of the whole school isn't actually named David Klein, but rather Sgt. Schultz: He knew nothing, he saw nothing, he heard nothing.
If you believe that, you belong under the category of "I'll take gullible for 600, Alex," or have safely wrapped yourself in the NFA flag.
Fact: NFA officials failed to follow the law. Per Connecticut General Statutes §17a-101a: "Mandated reporters are required to report or cause a report to be made when, in the ordinary course of their employment or profession, they have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child under the age of 18 has been abused, neglected or is placed in imminent risk of serious harm."
Hence, the law obviates the "two-day investigation" of campus administrators in 2017 and this "independent" investigation as well. It's not NFA's place to supplant law enforcement or the Department of Children and Families. NFA has no standing here. None. Zero.
But then, few other places among us practice institutional arrogance better than The Norwich Free Academy. It's as though they believe the musings of their officials and Board of Trustee members come down from some higher order.
And somehow, they all walk between the raindrops. It helps when an alarming number of sycophants create false dichotomies and purvey the heinousness of protecting the school's image rather than students on campus.
Tell me: During all these hallowed Board of Trustee meetings, has anyone in that room thought to reach out to the victims with an "I'm sorry?" Concern for how their lives are going? Offer to pay for therapy? Anything?
Or is that not just the NFA way?
I'm beginning to understand why so many NFA employees — disillusioned as they are — are so reluctant to speak out. Because at NFA, sexual predators are protected before truth-tellers. NFA somehow reaps the benefit of law enforcement doing the minimum legal requirement. Victims get ignored. And it's all allowed to happen for reasons that defy explanation.
Again: Explain how the officials who protected a sexual predator and violated Connecticut General Statutes §17a-101a are still on campus. Explain why no arrests are forthcoming. Explain why failure to report a far less serious issue recently resulted in job losses and altered careers at Montville High School.
Thinking members of society understand that this "investigation" absolving Mr. Klein bears all the weight of a gnat's eyelash. We know a sham when we see one.
And yet so many serious issues remain.
Victims walked among them at NFA.
And they were ignored.
Jaw-dropping examples of cowardice run rampant through that campus and law enforcement.
Business as usual at NFA.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
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