NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — She calls her former teacher at Davisville Middle School “the worst teacher I have ever had.”
And now, the young woman is the latest former North Kingstown student to give a statement to federal prosecutors in the ongoing civil rights investigation into complaints that school administrators failed to deal with teachers behaving inappropriately with students.
The woman came forward a few days after the Globe’s exclusive story about the teenage boys who’d tracked the teacher at Davisville who they thought was a creep with their female classmates. She had had the same teacher, years earlier.
In a five-page statement released Monday night by her lawyer, Timothy J. Conlon, along with a letter to Assistant US Attorney Kevin L. Hubbard, the young woman described how the teacher harassed and humiliated students.
The teacher caused her and others to have anxiety attacks, she wrote, but showed such favoritism toward certain girls that it made her stomach churn to remember.
She wrote that the teacher encouraged the girls he was coaching to take off their shirts when they ran, and that he had them stretch barefoot in his classroom, where he massaged their feet and calves. The teacher was particularly fixated on one eighth-grade girl he was coaching and would run with her outside of school.
The teacher tormented some of the students, including her, she wrote. She remembered the teacher berating one boy for making a mistake until the boy sobbed and gasped for breath. The teacher took the boy out into the hallway; the young woman remembered that the rest of the class listened to him weeping, while they were afraid to move and incur the teacher’s anger.
She said she began struggling with anxiety because of the way the teacher treated the students. She was terrified she would be next; when she was, she broke down in hysterics and was excused from two classes.
The young woman also noted the school administrator, guidance counselor, and teachers who were told or were aware of the teacher’s behavior. After seeing her break down, the guidance counselor intervened, and the teacher was out of school for a short period of time.
However, the teacher, who has been at Davisville for nearly 30 years, returned. And the students felt helpless to do anything.
“Looking back on my time at Davisville Middle School with adult eyes, I am shocked and disgusted by how a grown man took pleasure in the abuse of his eleven to fourteen-year old students,” the young woman wrote. The teacher “has been grooming and abusing children for decades with the blessing of the North Kingstown School Department.”
Federal authorities opened an investigation under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act in January, months after numerous complaints that the former celebrated boys high school basketball coach, Aaron Thomas, had been conducting “naked fat tests” of teen boys since the mid-1990s.
In the aftermath, complaints surfaced about another teacher at the high school and a teacher at Davisville Middle School. Interim Superintendent Michael Waterman placed those teachers, who have not been publicly identified, on administrative leave this spring.
Parents had accused the Davisville teacher of stalking their pre-teen daughter while he was coaching her in 2019. The family told Conlon the teacher had a history of similar behavior with other young female students he coached.
The family alleges they told several school officials, including then-Superintendent Philip Auger and School Committee Chairman Gregory Blasbalg, who were slow to respond — until the mother said she was going to seek a restraining order.
The teacher was then removed from coaching in North Kingstown, but got coaching jobs in two other school districts while continuing to teach in North Kingstown, Conlon’s letter said. Parents at another school district told the North Kingstown family that the teacher had coaching sessions in his basement and appeared to fixate on a select few girls, Conlon said.
Then in 2021, a group of boys in one of the teacher’s classes thought he was being a “creep” to the girls, so they kept a log of the teacher’s behavior in a Discord channel they called the “Pedo Database.”
After the teacher was put on leave in April, one of the boys and his mother came forward with the Discord log and gave it to investigators.
The young woman read about the boys’ log and thought the behavior sounded like the teacher she’d had in classes from 2012 to 2015. She was right.
Last week, she wrote an email to the boys thanking them for their courage.
“If it had not been for those brave students who stood up against him, he would still be teaching there,” she said in a statement.
She is now studying early childhood education and said she “cannot imagine putting my students through the same kind of abuse and harassment that [he] did to me and many other students.”
She had harsh words for the North Kingstown school officials. “He is an embarrassment to the teaching community, and the administration who enabled him to continue abusing students should be ashamed of themselves.”
In her statement for authorities, she addressed the teacher directly:
“You were the worst teacher I have ever had. You bullied me relentlessly for your own personal pleasure. You took pride in the fact that I feared you. And you smugly continued to fulfill your sick, twisted desires while the children sat helpless.
“I am a teacher now. And I am not afraid of you anymore,” she added. “You are nothing more than a miserable man who took the small amount of power he was given, and abused it for no other reason than you can. You used to say that there was no such thing as a failure of a teacher, and that the students were to blame for their lack of achievement. ... That is simply not true. You failed your students. You failed as a teacher. You failed as a coach. ... I am glad that somebody finally had the guts to speak up against you. And I hope that you never get the chance to ‘teach’ students ever again.”