Worcester

Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Prompt Criminal Investigation of Worcester School Cheerleading Program

Several coaches at the school have been placed on administrative leave, pending the results of an investigation

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Allegations of sexual misconduct have prompted a criminal investigation into a Worcester, Massachusetts, charter school's cheerleading program, Worcester police confirmed Wednesday.

Administrators at the Abby Kelley Foster Charter Middle School said earlier this week that they had launched an investigation into members of its cheerleading coaching staff but did not specify why.

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Police said earlier in the week that their investigation had found that criminal charges were not warranted. Wednesday, however, authorities said they had learned new information, and there is a criminal investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior.

Several coaches at the school have been placed on administrative leave, pending the results of the investigation, while the cheering program has apparently been suspended until this can be sorted out.

Heidi Paluk, executive director of the school, said it had hired an outside counselor to conduct an investigation, adding that further action may be considered once it's complete.

"To preserve the integrity of the investigative process and the privacy and confidentiality of those impacted, we have nothing further to share at this time," Paluk said in a statement Wednesday night.

It’s unclear how long this investigation is expected to last.

The school says allegations of misconduct are being looked at, but has not revealed any specifics of the possible wrongdoing.

But the school did say that student safety and wellbeing are paramount, and the school does not tolerate violations of school policies and behavioral codes.

The head coach of the cheerleading team has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

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