NFA campus safety director applies for accelerated rehabilitation

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Norwich Free Academy Campus Safety Director Kevin Rodino applied Friday for accelerated rehabilitation, which, if granted, would lead to dismissal of criminal charges he faces in connection with allegations that a former academy coach had sexual relations with two students in 2017 and 2018.

Rodino, 61, of 53 Lake View Drive, Preston, was charged Feb. 25 with failure to report suspected child abuse, tampering with evidence, issuing a false statement and interfering with police in connection with his role in the school’s internal investigation into the first allegation in April 2017 and the subsequent Norwich police investigation into the second sexual assault allegation in June 2018.

Former assistant coach Anthony Facchini has been charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault involving the alleged sexual relations with the students. State law prohibits sexual relations between school personnel, including coaches and students.

Rodino has been on paid administrative leave from NFA since his arrest. Academy spokesman Geoff Serra said earlier this week that there has been no change in Rodino's status. Rodino on Friday still was listed on the NFA website as campus safety director.

Attorney Paul Chinigo, representing Rodino, told Judge Nuala E. Droney that Rodino will apply for the accelerated rehabilitation program, which enables first-time offenders to clear their charges if they do not commit additional crimes and abide by other conditions. Rodino’s case was continued to July 19, when he is expected to learn whether he is eligible for the program. Rodino pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on March 27.

According to police warrant affidavits, NFA learned of the first allegation involving Facchini in April 2017, when Rodino received a call from NFA Curriculum Director Denise Grant after she had discussed the allegation with physical and health education teacher Susan Hopkins-Terrell. Rodino allegedly reported that the initial call was anonymous and vague, but Grant told police Rodino knew her identity and returned her call on her desk phone. She said she never meant to be anonymous.

Rodino’s initial investigation report stated that Rodino met with Head of School David Klein, Director of Student Affairs John Iovino and then-Athletic Director Eric Swallow regarding the allegation. School officials quickly closed the investigation after both Facchini and the student denied they were in a sexual relationship.

According to police, Rodino’s initial report indicated school officials did not intend to report the allegations to police or to the state Department of Children and Families — reporting that is required by state law for all school personnel — even if Facchini had acknowledged the relationship.

“Rodino states in the initial report that it was decided, after advising Iovino, Klein and Athletic Director Eric Swallow, that Swallow would meet with Facchini regarding this matter to gain additional information,” police wrote in the search warrant affidavit. “Rodino also noted that if the allegations were found to be true, Facchini would be advised the social interaction should stop immediately.”

During the police investigation, officers observed that Rodino referred to a hard-backed green notebook he allegedly had used during his internal investigation. When police executed a search and seizure warrant on the NFA campus Sept. 12, the day of Facchini’s arrest, they found the notebook in a closet with approximately 80 pages ripped out. Rodino told police he had never used that notebook.

c.bessette@theday.com

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