Call For Independent Investigation Of School Sexual Abuse Reporting Gains Traction

Jul 20, 2017

A resolution calling for an independent investigation into the handling of sexual abuse allegations at Henry Kizirian Elementary School moved forward in the Providence City Council Monday.

The council’s education committee amended the resolution, placing the Providence Police Department in charge of the proposed investigation.

The non-binding measure still needs a full council vote, but it is unclear when the measure will appear on the council’s agenda.

Cyd McKenna, the council’s chief of staff, said the resolution is not on the docket for a scheduled meeting Thursday. The last chance for a vote this summer would be a special meeting Monday. Otherwise, council members will go on recess, and the proposal will have to wait until they reconvene in September.

The measure stems from allegations involving James Duffy, a gym teacher accused of groping three female students. The school put Dufy on leave after receiving a report of abuse but did not alert the state’s child welfare agency within 24 hours, as required by state law. The allegations became public after the family of one of the students reported them to the police.

Providence school officials have said the district is conducting an internal investigation into why school leaders failed to report the allegations of abuse to child welfare officials. They have also promised to provide training for all school staff about how to handle sexual abuse reporting.