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Providence City Council Committee calls for investigation into school after molestation allegations

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By: Rebecca Turco


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Providence City Council Special Committee on Education has called for an independent investigation into molestation charges at Harry Kizirian Elementary School.

The unanimous yes vote calls on the Providence Police department to conduct a “thorough” investigation “on the incident in question.”

By this, the committee’s councilors are calling on the police to investigate how officials at the school handled accusations from students that a gym teacher molested them. They also called on police to investigate the allegations as a whole, which police are already doing.

"Ultimately we need to ensure the safety of our students who attend our schools," said Committee Chairman Bryan Principe.

In May, the elementary school failed to report accusations to the Department of Children, Youth and Families that James Duffy inappropriately touched four eleven-year-old girls. The DCYF was not notified until seven weeks later - and it was not by the school or the district.

"I think that moving forward, that's one of the most important things – is to make sure that the school, the teachers, the principals, the administration, are all on the same page on how they should report cases like this," Councilor Nicholas Narducci (Ward 4) said.

Principe reflected on whether any disciplinary action should be taken on other faculty at Kizirian Elementary: "I think the investigation will ultimately answer that."

The resolution calling for the investigation is non-binding. There is a full city council meeting Thursday and, though it is too late to put the item on the docket, Principe is hoping to call for a vote at the end of the meeting.

Duffy remains out on bail and on administrative leave from the school.

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