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It turns out that Jason Pellum is innocent

The first three hits in a simple Google search of Jason Pellum's name:

His Linked In page.

His biography from Higher Edge, his previous place of employment.

A story from May 2019, in The Day titled, "Another New London Employee Charged With Sexual Assault," a snippet of which reads, "on May 10 (2019), someone had reported an allegation of inappropriate interaction between Pellum and a student to DCF. There are no pending criminal charges against Pellum."

And there it was for Pellum, a two-year albatross that not only cost him a job at a major university, but subjected him to the darts and judgements of the uninformed gallery.

Turns out Pellum's name has been cleared. It was cleared a while ago, actually. Except this is the stuff that never makes the papers. Heck, only Pellum's determination unearthed the documentation from DCF about the unsubstantiated charges. DCF never notified him.

"Two years," Pellum was saying Wednesday by phone from Boston, where he has a new job. "If I didn't go through my own avenues, this would still be up in the air."

Happily, life is better for Pellum, 27, a 2012 graduate of New London High and 2016 graduate of UConn, where he was a practice player and later a video coordinator with the women's basketball team. Pellum is the new video coordinator for the women's basketball program at Boston University.

Pellum was a long-term substitute at New London High when the allegations hit.

Pellum on the process:

"Because of the allegations, I was on paid administrative leave and then the school year ended," he said. "I was a long-term sub and my job was done. I got the job at Higher Edge (helping low income and first generation students with college enrollment and retention) in July. I consulted with my lawyer and legally I didn't have to say anything about the allegations.

"Katie (Hallisey, who has become Higher Edge's new director) was working there with me and we talked about it. The (previous) director caught wind of what happened to me and said I needed something in writing that exonerated me. DCF never gave me anything. I never heard from New London Public Schools."

Pellum contacted the ombudsman at DCF. He even got help from former New London Superintendent of Schools Nick Fischer and his wife, Karen. Pellum eventually found in the DCF data base that his case had been cleared in a month.

"I got no letter, no phone call, nothing from DCF," Pellum said. "New London Public Schools said because I didn't work there anymore they weren't obligated to sign anything. In November, I finally got a piece of mail saying that the allegations were unsubstantiated and that I pose no risk."

Meanwhile, Pellum lost the opportunity to be the video coordinator at a major women's basketball program because his name had not been officially cleared.

"People do their own searches and questions are asked," Pellum said. "Getting this job (at BU), I had to be extremely transparent on the front end. I wasn't charged of a crime. I did nothing wrong. But I still had to explain myself because people read certain this and making certain assumptions. There were a lot of tough conversations.

"I'm blessed with the opportunity. This is where I'm supposed to be. That's how the universe is working. I'm extremely grateful for this chance."

Pellum's voice was all gratitude and no attitude. Imagine, though, his plight: To answer for something he never did. And worse: Knowing that his accuser(s) remain anonymous. That DCF pulled a Sgt. Schultz.

"There has been some residual trauma from everything that went down," he said. "I'm finding ways to get through it. There was a time period when I was in a really low place. Things were being said about me and happening to me that were completely out of my control.

Then Pellum paused and said, "I'm glad to be able to put this behind me. But I want it public that somebody ought to be looking out for us, too. We deserve protection and assistance in and getting our names back."

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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