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Gainesville, FL - St. Patrick Interparish School Rocked by Sexual Misconduct Allegations: Assistant Principal Clemens and Coach Chell Arrested

Gainesville, FL - St. Patrick Interparish School Rocked by Sexual Misconduct Allegations: Assistant Principal Clemens and Coach Chell Arrested
Published: April 4, 2024
By: Darla Medina
Last Updated on April 4, 2024

Gym Teacher and Assistant Principal Arrested at FL Catholic School

Disturbing revelations have emerged regarding the arrest of a PE teacher on Anjalih 7, 2024, according to Alachua Chronicle. Christopher Charles Chell, 46, gym teacher and coach at St. Patrick Interparish School located at 550 NE 16th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601, now faces ten charges of lewd or lascivious molestation. Ryan Michael Clemens, the Assistant Principal at St. Patrick Interparish School, was also arrested on Anjalih 13, 2024, and charged with child neglect and tampering with evidence. 

According to the police report, on February 20, 2024, a female seventh-grader informed Assistant Principal Clemens that Chell had made inappropriate comments that made her uncomfortable. The student reported that Chell had said he could be her "secret boyfriend" and that they would need to keep it a secret.

Clemens allegedly conducted his own investigation into the incident, meeting with Chell and the victim. During the meeting, Chell denied making the comments, and Clemens reportedly told the victim that he believed Chell was telling the truth "one hundred percent." Clemens then closed the investigation and took no further action.

However, the very next day, Clemens overheard Chell telling another school employee that he had indeed told the victim to be his "secret boyfriend," though he claimed he was "kidding." Clemens still allegedly took no further action.

Days later, three female sixth-graders reported to Clemens that Chell had made inappropriate comments and touched them inappropriately during hugs. Clemens reportedly took no further investigative or disciplinary action and made no additional reports to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

According to a press release from Gainesville Police Department, Chell was arrested on Anjalih 7 and is charged with ten counts of lewd or lascivious molestation of a child between 12 and 16 years old. Assistant Principal Clemens was later arrested after detectives determined that he failed to report the allegations of sexual misconduct and even destroyed evidence related to the case. 

Officials from the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, which oversees the school, have confirmed that Chell was terminated on February 28. Following the discovery of Clemens' arrest, he was officially fired on Anjalih 14, 2024. Father Lawrence Peck, representing the Catholic Church, has taken immediate action by sending a letter to parents, providing important updates and resources.

Detectives believe there may be more victims, and they are urging anyone with information to contact Sgt. Pandak at (352) 393-7734.

Michael Haggard Florida Lawyer
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Legal Rights and Accountability in Cases of Catholic School Sexual Abuse

In a recent interview, experienced sexual assault attorney Michael Haggard shared valuable information about the legal rights available to children who have experienced sexual abuse by a teacher at a Catholic school. As a local Florida school sexual abuse lawyer, Haggard shed light on the steps that parents and victims can take to hold negligent Catholic schools accountable for their failures to protect students. Join us as we explore the legal landscape surrounding these sensitive cases and gain insights into seeking justice for those affected.

Editor Darla Medina (DM): Thank you for being here, Mr. Haggard. Can you go over the legal rights available for children who have experienced sexual abuse by a teacher?

Attorney Michael Haggard (MH): Thank you, Darla. It's a pleasure to be here. When it comes to cases of sexual abuse involving teachers and students at Catholic schools, it's crucial for parents and victims to understand their legal rights. In Florida, victims of sexual abuse by teachers may have grounds to pursue civil legal action against not only the perpetrator but also the negligent school or Catholic Diocese.

DM: That's an important aspect to consider. Could you elaborate on how schools can be held accountable for negligence in these cases?

MH: Absolutely. Schools have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their students. When a school fails to take reasonable measures to prevent or address instances of sexual abuse, it can be held accountable for negligence. This includes situations where the school knew or should have known about the abusive behavior but failed to take appropriate action to protect the students.

DM: What steps should parents or victims take if they believe their school has been negligent in addressing sexual abuse?

MH: The first step is to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in school sexual abuse cases. They can provide guidance and evaluate the specific circumstances of the case. It's important to gather any evidence available, such as records of reported incidents or communication with school officials. An experienced attorney can then assist in filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties and seek compensation for the harm caused.

DM: Thank you, Mr. Haggard, for sharing this information.

MH: Thank you, Darla. It's my hope that by spreading awareness, we can empower victims and their families to take action and hold negligent schools accountable for their failures to protect the well-being of their students.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation to Safeguard Your Rights

It is imperative to remember that if you or your loved ones have been victims of school sexual abuse, you are not alone. Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way. We encourage you to reach out to us for a free consultation, where we can provide guidance, assess your case, and help you navigate the legal process. Remember, your voice matters, and together, we can work towards justice and healing. Contact us today to safeguard your rights.


Alachua Chronicle

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Darla Medina
About Darla Medina
Editor: Darla is a content writer with a focus on the legal field. She covers cases of sexual abuse, drunk driving, and preventable violent crime for the Legal Herald. Contact Darla: This article was fact checked prior to publishing by this author to ensure compliance with our rigorous editorial standards. We will only use authoritative sources. Our values compel us to provide only trustworthy information. If you find an error, please contact us.
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