Friday, November 20, 2009

Teacher in Wisconsin sex case resigns

Teacher in Wisconsin sex case resigns
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A Kamehameha Schools teacher who had been accused of sexual misconduct with a student while working on the Mainland more than 20 years ago has resigned his position, the school announced yesterday.



Thomas Gardipee began teaching at Kamehameha's Kapalama campus in 2002. Yesterday, Michael Chun, Kamehameha Kapalama president and headmaster, said the school has accepted Gardipee's resignation.

In 1992, Gardipee was suspended as athletic director at St. Lawrence Seminary, a Roman Catholic prep school in Wisconsin after allegations of sexual misconduct. A former student had accused Gardipee of exposing himself and intimidation.

Gardipee was never convicted of any crime related to this case.

Officials at the Wisconsin school said in September that no one from Kamehameha Schools contacted them prior to hiring Gardipee.

Chun said in a statement yesterday that the school did conduct a criminal history check on Gardipee.

"The criminal background checks conducted by an outside firm prior to Tom Gardipee's hire in 2002 did not uncover any criminal convictions, and we confirmed that all charges in the criminal suit brought against him in Wisconsin were dismissed," Chun said in the statement. "There have been no subsequent allegations leveled against Tom during his tenure at Kamehameha Schools. To the contrary, published reports of the 22-year-old Wisconsin accusations have drawn hundreds of statements of support from our students, faculty and parents. Nonetheless, to eliminate any possible lingering distractions, I have accepted Tom Gardipee's resignation."

According to a public database of the Wisconsin court system, Gardipee was charged in January 1993 with enticement of a child and intimidation of a witness.

A 1993 Associated Press story said the case stems from a 1987 incident at the whirlpool room in St. Lawrence Seminary's gym in which the student complained of back pains and Gardipee suggested that he use the whirlpool. According to the AP report, the student accused Gardipee of taking off his clothes and performing a sex act.

The boy also accused Gardipee of throwing him against a gym office wall several weeks later after he complained about Gardipee's earlier behavior, according to the AP report.

The Chicago Tribune later reported that the criminal case was dismissed in March 1993 due to lack of probable cause. A civil lawsuit associated with the alleged harassment was settled in 1996, and its terms were sealed.

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