Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Former Westinghouse coach under investigation

From WPXI:


"Weiss said days after receiving the complaints he forwarded them to the school police, but never heard back from them on the outcome of the investigation.

Jennings reported that sources inside of the school district said police were ordered by then superintendent Mark Roosevelt to turn the investigation over to the district's human relations department."

- Huh?


Anonymous said...

Wow. Sounds familiar.

Retired from PPS said...

Weiss' response is laughable.

School Police were at different times ordered by Roosevelt, Lane, Fischetti and Weiss that complaints against staff were to be handled by Weiss' office and later by now HR director Spolar.

When a crime has been alleged, you do not report it to your staff attorney or personnel director. You do not call a private investigator. You call law enforcement.

This is the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

Tip of the iceberg indeed. This is another Penn State-style scandal in the making and a fire storm will ensue because it appears crimes have been committed. Those who have been complicit will pay dearly. A full criminal investigation should be carried out immediately. How tragic for the young child involved.

Langley parent said...

Exactly why did it take Mr. Weiss days to turn the complaint over to police, if in fact he ever did?

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear. He did not turn over the complaint to governmental police authority but rather a private police force with limited legal authority. Very similar to the Penn State situation where the complaint was passed on to campus police. The parallels are stunning.

Randall Taylor said...

I, and the Board, encountered a similar situation in, I believe, 1999.
An employee was found"wrestling" with a student, aged about 13, in a secluded area of a school. The District at that time wanted to turn it over, also, to Jody Spolar. I refused I told the Administration "either they call the Police or I do". I eventually called then Commander Gwen Elliott. They investigated and the parents of student wanted it dropped. They should know better.
Stunning, although not surprising, that they did not feel need to share with Board. Why did they have to? Board would have agreed with Roosevelt decision.
Public must ask: What is District doing to protect our children? How many other incidents does the public NOT know about? And we demand that Board and Administration follow State Law which mandates you MUST report to Police. They investigate! NOT Jody Spolar.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Quote..... A full criminal investigation should be carried out immediately....


Immediately is long passed. Should have been, sure.

When was this alleged event?

Do something now, of course. But waiting is so ugly as well. Inaction at the proper times stinks. Hours, days and a week, ... Should be the timeframe. Not years.

A Word from Bellefield said...

As I write this - in fear for my job, health and personal safety - an extensive investigation is underway at PPS on how the story was leaked to the media.

Welcome to Bellefield where the only thing that matters is the spin.

Anonymous said...

It also sounds like Weiss has gotten a private investigator to look into it. Does he have that power or does it have to be a board decision to get a private investigator???

Questioner said...

Maybe the obligation to report this kind of incident was not included in the training when Mr. Roosevelt attended the 7 weekend Broad Superintendent Academy. But as someone who lived through the Watergate era, wouldn't he at least know that the coverup is usually worse than the original problem?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that they refer to the accused as a "high school sports coach" instead of as a "teacher." This is more PPS spin. The accused is a teacher who also happened to be a coach. Making it sound like just a coach instead of a teacher at the school makes it sound less offensive (or so the PPS spin doctors think). If it is true, no matter the perp's position at the school, it is terrible. Equally terrible is PPS' cover-up.

I wonder if the fact that one of the Board member's sister-in-law teaches and coaches there, has anything to do with the way this was (not) handled? She may be good friends with the accused and not want to see him lose his pension.
They have both worked there together a long time.

Ira Weiss dropped the ball - the investigation was conveniently "stalled." Instead of hiring a private investigator to reopen the case, let the DA take over and investigate. Then let the chips fall where they may.

Anonymous said...

Another investigation at Westinghouse. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11320/1190313-100.stm

Anonymous said...

I wonder about the fact that Ira Weiss addressed this issue in the media. Is this a smokescreen to make it seem like the 2 incidents were one and the same?

Questioner said...

It is really strange that the PG would report on the investigation into drug use but not the investigation about the teacher/coach and student.

Questioner said...

The Tribune is also reporting about the allegation of marijuana use by a former coach, current coach and students (another instance of an issue turned over to school police with no follow up), but again no mention of the more serious investigation.


Anonymous said...

Stories like this make most us realize that there are countless other stories that have never ever seen the light of day.

Anonymous said...

How would the general public react to a family member growing marijuana in the home of a board member? Would the news media even care? Perhaps it is not relevant. It doesn't determine one's ability to effectively manage the district, right? She's still credible, right?

Anonymous said...

Oops. Forgive me, I neglected to mention that this family member was also selling the home grown marijuana out of the house while attending a PPS high school. That is irrelevant, right?

Did I mention that this PPS high school graduate has a criminal record? Irrelevant too?

Anonymous said...

Was this person also a paid tutor?

Anonymous said...

PPS released this comment late today:
"Contrary to the WPXI report by Alan Jennings on November 15, 2011, Pittsburgh Public Schools
has not received a complaint alleging “sex with a student in a locker room” by a retired
Pittsburgh Westinghouse football coach. In April 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of
Education notified the District of an unsubstantiated complaint, received by the U.S. Department
of Education’s Inspector General, through the U.S. Inspector General’s hotline, regarding
Pittsburgh Westinghouse High School.
The rambling complaint of poor school conduct alleged numerous issues at the school ranging
from inappropriate conduct by students on school grounds, sexual misconduct, and broken
security cameras. The allegations of sexual misconduct did not name individuals. The entire
matter was referred to the Chief of School Police for investigation. Unfortunately there is no
record of a comprehensive report of the investigation, nor any other record of it being forwarded
to any other department of the District. Therefore the Solicitor has reopened the investigation of
the complaint."

Secondly, I'm not a fan of libel, especially when it masquerades as something of a public service. These last few comments are over the top and beneath the standard that Questioner and Pure Reform has set.

Just Passing By said...

anon 8:49

No one libeled anyone here. No one here identified a specific person as guilty of anything.

Calling for an investigation into alleged misconduct is not libel.

Note also that the story broke on WPXI. It wasn't some rumor that someone heard in some hallway somewhere.

I do see your point. Innocent people can be badly hurt by false charges.

But innocents can also be hurt when problems are swept under the rug. That's why an open and fair investigation is so very important.

Anonymous said...

It would be good to know how Jennings got the story in the first place. He does not strike me as a journalist who would take a story and run without some sense of its authenticy. But still, I'd be happier if it were completely untrue. That said, investigations are expensive.

Anonymous said...

According to today's Trib. the complaint was referred to Chief Fadzen. He is the scapegoat now and isn't commenting because he is still on suspension without pay.

PPS' latest statement sounds like backtracking and an attempt at damage control. The district said the "unsubstantiated" complaint came on the Inspector General's hotline.

When Alan Jennings first talked to Ira Weiss, why weren't the "facts" clarified by Weiss then?

Anonymous said...


Link to today's story:

"reopen...because of concerns about the thoroughness of the first investigation."

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how there is no mention of the sexual allegations that Jennings uncovered regarding a coach and a student.


Is this an attempt to avoid a Penn State type scandal? More stalling on the part of district officials? I smell a cover up.

Anonymous said...

The person who posted on 11/16 at 8:49 regarding the statement PPS released: PPS' statement mentioned a "retired Westinghouse football coach." The media only mentioned a retired sports coach. PPS in their statement actually identified the coach as a football coach thus letting people familiar with Westinghouse athletics know who they were talking about. Shame on PPS.