STVM coach on unpaid leave after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with student

STVM coach on unpaid leave after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with student
St. Vincent-St. Mary High School seal

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - St. Vincent-St. Mary wrestling coach Harry Lester has been put on unpaid leave after allegations surfaced about an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Thomas Carone, the president of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School sent alumni a letter Wednesday evening in an attempt to be transparent.

“I wanted you to hear the facts directly from me before you see media reports or social media posts."
Thomas Carone, President of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School

Lester, a staff member for the past 3 years, reportedly had a relationship with a student in 2018.

He was placed on leave Monday, April 8.

The high school also plans on launching their own internal investigation to coincide with police.

Read the full letter sent to alumni below:

Dear STVM Alumnus,

I need to share some disturbing news with you. On Monday, we placed wrestling coach Harry Lester on unpaid administrative leave immediately after learning of allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student last year. I wanted you to hear the facts directly from me before you see media reports or social media posts.

The student has since graduated from our school. We pray for our graduate and offer our prayers to the graduate's family, and I hope you will keep them in your prayers as well. We are deeply sorry that they must endure this emotional stress.

As you can imagine, we were shocked that something like this could happen at our school to one of our students. We are fiercely dedicated to the safety of each and every one of our students at St. Vincent-St. Mary. That is our number one priority every day.

I want to let you know what we do to help prevent these types of situations. As you know, we expect and demand high moral and ethical standards of our faculty and staff. We do not tolerate behavior deviating from those high standards. Our staff undergo rigorous state and federal background checks upon hiring and must complete VIRTUS training, which is instruction by certified facilitators on the prevention of child sexual abuse, upon hiring. They must continue that training throughout their employment at our school.

We understand that a police report has been filed and we intend to fully cooperate with the authorities' investigation. We are also launching our own internal investigation that will review the three years in which Mr. Lester was employed with our school.

We want you to know that we take this matter very seriously and we will review all protocols in place to do our best to ensure that this never happens again. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Thomas M. Carone VM77

President, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School

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