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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Gainesville assistant principal arrested on suspicion of child neglect

His bond is set at $60,000

The assistant principal of St. Patrick Interparish School was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of ignoring a teacher’s inappropriate behavior toward a student and lying about it to law enforcement.

Ryan Clemens, 41, was arrested on two felony charges: child neglect and evidence-destroying.

Clemens received a report Feb. 20 that one of St. Patrick Interparish School’s physical education teachers acted inappropriately toward a girl in their class, according to the arrest report.

The teacher allegedly made a seventh-grade girl uncomfortable by saying he could be her “secret boyfriend” and that she’d need to keep it secret from others, according to the arrest report.

After meeting with the teacher and the student, Clemens allegedly disregarded the report, and sided with the teacher who denied saying anything to the student.

Clemens ended the investigation and didn’t reopen it, though he later received similar reports from a teacher and multiple students, and overheard the physical education teacher contradict his original statements.

His report filed to the Department of Children and Families also falsely concluded there was no wrong-doing and claimed the physical education teacher never said anything inappropriate to the girl.

Three sixth-grade students soon after met with Clemens and voiced concerns about the physical education teacher. They told Clemens they were worried the teacher “was a pedophile” according to the arrest report, and had witnessed him either touch or speak in inappropriate ways.

The next day, Clemens learned the teacher allegedly molested a female student and fired the teacher.

Clemens said he removed written communication evidence from the teacher’s office after he was fired. 

GPD officers arrested Clemens Wednesday with a bond of $60,000.

His next hearing isn’t scheduled as of Friday morning.

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Aidan Bush

Aidan Bush is a third-year journalism major and the Spring 2024 Engagement Managing Editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he likes to listen to music and go kayaking.

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