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Top Stories 2019: Former principal accused of sexual misconduct, resigns


In August, an attorney representing former Riverhead High School student Anastasia Stapon filed a federal lawsuit against Riverhead Central School District officials and then high school principal Charles Regan detailing accusations of sexual misconduct.
Attorney John Ray of Miller Place filed the 40-page complaint in the Eastern District Court of New York. It alleged sexual assault, battery, abuse and harassment; two civil rights violations; intentional infliction of extreme emotional distress; breach of fiduciary duties; counseling and psychological malfeasance; and two counts of fraud and negligent supervision, hiring and retention.
Mr. Regan, 48, was reassigned to his residence with pay April 30 following an accusation of sexual misconduct leveled by Ms. Stapon.
In May, Ms. Stapon, who is now 19, filed a notice of claim against the district, a precursor to a lawsuit. She discussed the allegations publicly alongside Mr. Ray and her parents, Maryanne Wojcik and Theresa Stapon of Riverhead.
Ms. Stapon publicly spoke about her experience during a press conference with Mr. Ray, where it was initially stated that Mr. Regan allegedly sent thousands of sexually charged text messages, videos and photos to Ms. Stapon during school and non-school hours. A 200-page text message transcription was attached to the federal lawsuit, as were graphic photos sent by Mr. Regan to the student.
In June, the Riverhead Board of Education filed disciplinary charges against Mr. Regan in accordance with Section 3020a of state education law. The district also hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations.
However, the school board dismissed the disciplinary charges after approving Mr. Regan’s resignation in August, which was effective Sept. 27.
In September, a separate federal lawsuit accused the embattled administrator of engaging in sexual activity with two students during his previous employment with the South Manor School District, including one girl who was just 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident. That lawsuit was also filed by Mr. Ray.
Riverhead school district is due back in the Eastern District Court of New York Jan. 23, 2020.
Photo caption: Anastasia Stapon leaves a press conference in May with her attorney John Ray and parents. (Credit: Grant Parpan/file)