Police: Principal of Kentucky high school charged after not reporting abuse of students

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Michael Ceglinski, principal of McCracken County High School in Western Kentucky, has been suspended with pay and charged with two misdemeanors after allegedly not reporting abuse of his students, according to court records.

The newspaper says since the beginning of the year, three high school employees have been investigated by the McCracken County Sheriff’s Office, which charged Ceglinski Wednesday.

John Parks, the bass fishing coach at the high school, was charged with first-degree sexual abuse on Feb. 14, according to court documents.

Parks’ arrest citation states he allegedly grabbed a male juvenile’s butt and inner thigh multiple times “for sexual gratification.” He was also charged with possession of child pornography of a second minor, court records show.

According to the paper, on Feb. 6, McCracken County activities director Kris Garrett resigned from his position; Garrett may have inappropriately contacted a student or multiple students using an electronic device, according to the sheriff’s department.

Garrett was barred from school property Jan. 15 after the sheriff’s department began its inquiry, according to The Paducah Sun. He was named to the activities director position prior to the school’s opening in 2013.

A third employee is also under investigation for inappropriate communication, according to the sheriff’s office. That person’s name has not been released.

An 18-year-old student, Pricekumar Joshi, was charged this week with inappropriate sexual contact and possessing illegal sexual images of an underage student, the sheriff’s office said.

Ceglinski was charged with the misdemeanors for allegedly not reporting the alleged abuse. He allegedly knew about two of the incidents and did not tell law enforcement, which is a state law, police said. The school took no administrative action in one of the incidents and little action in another.

The paper says that in an interview with WPSD Tuesday, McCracken Superintendent Brian Harper apologized to parents.

“They should expect us to keep everyone safe, and that’s what we’re supposed to do. By no means should they feel (concerned with their children’s safety), and I’m sorry some of them probably are at this point, just because of everything that is going on. It is my job to get it cleaned up, and that’s what I plan on doing. I apologize to those parents, and I apologize to those students,” Harper said.

The Herald-Leader says Harper said during Wednesday’s press conference the school will train all teachers next Tuesday on reporting and handling sexual misconduct.

Ceglinski has been the principal of McCracken County High since its inception in 2013, when it formed with the consolidations of Reidland, Heath and Lone Oak high schools.

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