SALEM - The Salem school board met in special session Friday and accepted the resignation of a now former high school teacher investigated for an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
Brian D'Angelo, 42, of Poland, taught social studies and had done some coaching for the district since being hired in 2003, but has been off on paid administrative leave since March 20, the day some of the girl's fellow students reported their suspicions to school staff.
Children Services was contacted, and the Salem Police Department took over the investigation almost immediately. During the course of the investigation, biological evidence linked D'Angelo to the girl's bedroom, Salem police Detective Dave Talbert said.
No criminal charges have been filed, and the case is now closed due to the girl's refusal to disclose any criminal conduct by the teacher, he said. Talbert indicated if new information came to light, they could reopen the case.
With the police investigation finished, the school district moved forward with its investigation and requested copies of what the police had, including interviews, DNA test results and phone records.
The board's attorney, Helen Carroll of Roetzel and Andress in Akron, said D'Angelo was notified of a statutory meeting that was to be held this past Monday with Superintendent Tom Bratten to give him an opportunity to respond to the allegations. His attorney notified her that he was resigning.
After the board accepted D'Angelo's resignation, effective Aug. 18, Bratten made a statement at the meeting, noting the former teacher's personnel file and the investigative file related to the allegations will be sent to the Ohio Department of Education Office for professional conduct, as required by law.
According to a settlement agreement signed by both Bratten and D'Angelo on Wednesday, he'll be paid for all compensation earned for the 2012-13 school year and retain his health insurance benefits through Aug. 31. He also released the school board from any claims or suits at law of any kind resulting from his employment with the school based on facts or events which occurred before the agreement was signed.
"Nothing contained herein will constitute an admission of fault or liability of any kind by any party," the agreement said.
Attached to the agreement was a one-sentence resignation by D'Angelo citing personal reasons.
Bratten's investigative notes detailed the steps taken from the beginning, including the conversation with D'Angelo telling him the allegations known at that point on March 20, that he was immediately placed on administrative leave, that he had to stay off board property and to have no contact with any student. He also received written notice.
The report noted that on March 21, Bratten learned that D'Angelo had contacted the parent of the girl, leading Bratten to tell him he was to have no contact with anyone related to the case, including both the parents and students. The report said D'Angelo repeatedly violated that directive by contacting the student and parents, which Bratten termed as "willful insubordination."
On March 25, Bratten learned the police had already been looking into allegations related to the student and teacher that dated to December.
A message requesting comment was left for D'Angelo with a woman who answered the phone at his residence, but no call was returned. A message was also left for his attorney, Stanley Okusewski, with no call returned.