McCracken County attorney details timeline in decision to drop Ceglinski charge
MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — McCracken County Attorney Sam Clymer laid out a timeline of events to help explain why the remaining charge against McCracken County High School Principal Michael Ceglinski was dismissed.
Ceglinski was originally charged with failure to report child abuse, stemming from the ongoing case involving John Parks, the former volunteer fishing coach at the high school. Parks is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old student.
But on Friday, Clymer entered an order dismissing the charge against Ceglinski. In a set of documents Clymer sent to Local 6, he explained a timeline of events that led to the decision.
— Jan. 24: The child met with Ceglinski in his office to discuss his concerns about Parks, telling the principal that “Parks had been too touchy and would send him too many text messages,” Clymer wrote. The child said he was uncomfortable and wanted to quit the bass team. The child then said he wanted him and his mother to meet with Ceglinski again. Clymer noted that the information Ceglinski learned during this first meeting did not create reasonable grounds to believe that sexual abuse had occurred.
— Jan. 25: Ceglinski called the child’s mother and told her what her son had said. Ceglinski then assured her he would investigate, Clymer wrote.
— Feb. 8: Ten school days after Ceglinski called the child’s mother, she emailed Ceglinski to ask for an update on his investigation. About 11 minutes later, Ceglinski responded, telling her “he had been busy dealing with the other recent events at the school but would advise her early next week about what he had found out,” Clymer wrote.
— Feb. 12: Ceglinski emailed the child’s mother to inform her that he had talked with Parks. Ceglinski asked her to meet with him and Parks to hear Parks’ side of the story. That night, the child’s mother emailed Ceglinski back, saying she wants to home school her son because of his anxiety. The mother also told Ceglinski she will be in touch to set up a meeting with him soon, wrote Clymer.
— Feb. 13: Ceglinski emailed the child’s mother again to ask if they could all meet. Ceglinski also said that Parks claimed there was a misunderstanding that he would like to clear up with her, Clymer wrote. Later that morning, the child’s mother emailed back, saying she just saw inappropriate text messages that Parks had sent to her son, and that in her view, there was no misunderstanding. The mother told Ceglinski she will contact him soon to schedule an appointment.
Ceglinski then replied back, saying he would meet with her son to review the text messages. But when Ceglinski called to get the child out of class to discuss the texts, he learned the child had not been at school. “The child did not return to school subsequently prior to Ceglinski being charged and for that reason, Ceglinski had no opportunity to review the texts,” Clymer wrote.
— Feb. 14: Clymer wrote that during mediation testimony, the child’s mother testified that seeing the text messages that Parks sent to her son was too much for her, and that she no longer wanted to take part in Ceglinski’s investigation. Instead, the mother decided to go directly to the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department on Feb. 14 to report Parks.
“It was during this report of Parks’ actions that the child was asked whether he had told anyone about this. He stated that he told Mr. Ceglinski about it. It was at this time that the Sheriff’s Office detectives asked for guidance from the County Attorney’s Office regarding any possible criminal liability on Ceglinski for failure to report,” Clymer wrote.
Clymer noted that although Ceglisnki made a significant effort to arrange to meet with the child’s mother and to review the text messages, neither had happened yet. Therefore, Clymer believes charging Ceglinski was premature, because Ceglinski was still in the process of conducting his investigation. The investigation was necessary in order for Ceglinski to have reasonable cause to believe that the child had been abused.
Clymer added in his report that even though the charge against Ceglinski has been dismissed, he believes Ceglinski did not handle the situation correctly. Clymer noted that although Ceglinski called the child’s mother the day after first meeting with the child, Ceglinski did not update the mother on the investigation until 10 school days later.
Clymer also wrote that both the child and his mother have been ridiculed since Ceglsinki was charged. Clymer stressed that neither of them intended for Ceglinski to be under investigation.
Clymer also wrote that the prosecutor who originally advised detectives that charges were appropriate no longer works at the county attorney’s office. But Clymer said it was not because of the Ceglinski case. Clymer said were he the prosecutor originally working the case, he would not have approved issuing the charge.