Evidence failed to support charge against Principal Michael Ceglinski

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — The final charge against McCracken County High School Principal Michael Ceglinski was dismissed Friday.

County Attorney Sam Clymer made the call, and McCracken County District Judge Todd Jones signed off on it. As of Friday, the district is reinstating Ceglinski as principal.

Ceglinski was suspended with pay when charges of failure to report abuse were filed against him in February. He is the second administrator to have charges against him dropped in connection to sexual misconduct investigations at McCracken County High School. The first was Director of Pupil Personnel Brian Bowland. He was also charged with official misconduct. That charge was dismissed last month.

Three other people are still charged: former fishing coach John Parks, who was accused of sexually abusing a student; former math teacher Daniel Edwards, who was charged with asking a former student for nude photos; and 18 year-old student Princekumar Joshi, who was accused of sexually assaulting an underage student.

Why was the charge against Ceglinski dismissed? Court documents say there was not enough evidence to support the charge. Clymer took over this case, because the original prosecutor is no longer employed. In the court order, Clymer said that prosecutor did not research application of the mandatory reporting requirement among other elements that would support charges accusing Ceglinski of failure to report child abuse. The order goes on to focus on Ceglinski’s efforts to investigate the issue that would give him enough reasonable cause that he would be required by law to report the abuse to police.

Also mentioned: The case was submitted to retired McCracken Circuit Judge Jeff Hines for mediation. Hines issued an opinion in which he said the case should be dismissed due to premature charges.

School Board Attorney Butch Bradley says Ceglinski’s reinstatement was not a board decision, but he believes board members are pleased with interim Superintendent Heath Cartwright’s decision to bring him back.

Cartwright sent a letter to parents, students, and the entire school community Friday afternoon. In part, it reads: “As we have all been doing everything that we can to bring about a sense of normalcy, I am proud to be able to bring a conclusion to this issue by officially reinstating Michael Ceglinski to the position in which he has proudly served since the inception of McCracken County High School. Welcome back Principal Ceglinski,”

We did try to meet with Cartwright to speak with him on camera, but we were told by school district spokeswoman Jayme Jones that he would be unavailable all afternoon.

As for things around the high school, students will be joined by their reinstated principal when they walk through the doors Monday morning.

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