Dublin City Schools Superintendent Todd Hoadley committed to reviewing district practices in response to the federal pornography charges brought against former Scioto High School social-studies teacher Gregory Lee.
Hoadley spoke to several district staff members and parents who attended the school board meeting June 26 at the 1919 Building.
Hoadley said the district is committed to a “systematic review” of district policy.
“We are going to commit to this full review tonight,” he said.
Lee, 52, was charged with one count of producing child pornography and one count of possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography, according to a news release from the city of Dublin. His personnel file also includes several instances of alleged misconduct against students.
Hoadley said he first became aware of Lee’s history of misconduct with the district in April, when the district heard reports leading to Lee’s investigation.
“At the end, we demanded his resignation, even when there were no criminal charges,” he said.
According to his personnel file, Lee was placed on administrative leave April 13. He resigned May 25, district public-information officer Doug Baker said.
During past investigations of Lee’s alleged misconduct, the district partnered with state agencies, Hoadley said.
“Discipline was always congruent in every situation in the past,” he said.
State agencies also deemed Lee was eligible in 2015 to have his teaching license renewed, Hoadley said.
Although he didn’t give a specific timeline, Hoadley said the district would examine its policies and practices.
“We’re going to do a full review of all of our HR practices,” he said.
The meeting was the board’s first since the charges against Lee were brought, and board members heard from five residents who spoke about Lee’s charges.
Parents group seeks
One of the speakers was Mollie Hankins, a former Dublin student who attended Scioto from 1998 to 2002 and alleged that she had been a victim of Lee’s misconduct.
Hankins said she wanted to speak to board members to put a face to Lee’s victims.
“Things need to change,” she said.
Hankins said Lee was her coach when she was on the track team as a Scioto freshman. She said he had asked her to go to his office because her uniform was not fitting properly – an invitation she declined.
She also said she and a fellow student had received massages from Lee, supposedly to make them run faster.
Hankins said she didn’t feel prepared as a student to share her experience with parents or anyone else.
“We should have talked,” she said. “We didn’t. None of us did.”
Board members also heard from Sarah Gilbert, a parent in the district who read a statement on behalf of a newly formed group, Dublin Residents Against Sexual Harassment in Our Schools.
Gilbert said the group has requested that district staff conduct an independent investigation about how district policies affected Lee’s misconduct. She also requested that the district share current safety measures, the procedure for reporting sexual-harassment incidents, the process for investigating reports of sexual harassment and the administration’s plans for examining what allowed Lee’s misconduct to occur.
Gilbert said the group was interested in working with the district to enact changes and safety measures to deter future predators from having access to students.
Hoadley shared an emergency contact number for students to report incidents of harassment, 1-866-listen2me, along with safeguards already in place.
Those include state and federal criminal-records checks, reference checks, licensure with the Ohio Department of Education and prior employment. He also shared the district’s current anti-harassment policy.
Mother’s investigation led
to Lee’s child-porn charges
Lee had an initial appearance June 20 before U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers. She ordered him held without bail in the Franklin County jail.
The complaint, which was filed by Brett M. Peachey, a Westerville police officer assigned to the FBI task force against cyber and violent crimes, alleged that Lee had taken images of a 15-year-old girl with whom he had sex in his school classroom and sent her nude images of himself.
The FBI reported finding 234 images of the student in a USB drive recovered from Lee’s car, including 49 images depicting the girl in various stages of nudity. Some images were dated as recently as May 29.
Some appeared to have been sent to the drive from his cellphone.
The charges against Lee followed evidence uncovered during an ongoing investigation into Lee’s alleged inappropriate relationship with a student, according to the news release.
The girl’s mother notified authorities after reading her daughter’s personal journal in May. The writing included explicit descriptions of at least one act of oral sex between the girl and “Greg Lee,” according to the complaint.
The girl told investigators this month that she had been having sex with Lee since November 2016 and sent him nude photographs of herself. She said Lee would request nude photos of her and that she would feel “guilt-tripped” if she didn’t comply.
The complaint said Lee, who lives in northeast Columbus, admitted to having sex with the girl in his classroom multiple times and taking photos of her there. He also admitted to sending her nude photos of himself, the document states.
Personnel file showed other
The district hired Lee in 1995.
This past spring, district officials referred to the Dublin Police Department an allegation that Lee might have had an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to a statement June 20 from Superintendent Todd Hoadley.
According to his personnel file, he was placed on administrative leave April 13.
Lee’s personnel file also shows previous allegations of misconduct during his 22-year tenure with the district.
In one example, the district in October 2010 suspended Lee for three days without pay, due to “misconduct with a female student, ... including inappropriate touching.”
In August 2010, Lee had removed a Scioto 10th-grader from class and had a verbal confrontation with her in the hallway, “which included touching the student on the upper chest and shoulder,” according to the personnel file.
Prior to that, Lee was suspended without pay for two days Feb. 25 and 26, 2009, related to allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a female Scioto 11th-grader, according to his file.
According to his personnel file, Lee was asked to be present for an investigative hearing Feb. 2, 2009, to discuss allegations of inappropriate behavior toward the girl. Those allegations included that Lee had offered her a gift of clothing and repeatedly offered and provided her food. Allegations also stated that Lee had stared at her “in such a manner as to make her very uncomfortable, including looking at her on multiple occasions in such a manner as to cause her to believe that you were looking or attempting to look down the top of her clothing.”
The notice of suspension, issued to him by the district Feb. 3, 2009, states: “The history of your problematic conduct towards students in going (or seeking to go) beyond appropriate teacher-student boundaries now approaches being more than isolated, separable misjudgments on your part and instead borders on demonstrating more broadly that you simply lack a baseline appreciation of the limits of a proper teacher-student relationship.”
The notice also stated the district’s executive director of human resources didn’t have evidence that Lee had physical contact or that he had entered or sought to enter into a romantic relationship with a student.
In November 2002, Lee was asked to attend an investigative hearing to discuss allegations that he had written inappropriate notes to members of the Scioto girls cross country team, had given medical advice to student athletes and had engaged in inappropriate physical contact with them, according to the personnel file. A parent alleged that he had observed Lee rubbing a topical pain-relief cream on the girls’ legs.
Lee previously coached girls cross country and girls track and field teams, according to his personnel file. He resigned from coaching positions at the end of the 2002-03 school year as a result of allegations of inappropriate behavior with female Scioto athletes, according to his file.
In 1998, Lee was given a memo from the district’s athletics director, detailing Lee’s actions as assistant track coach, according to his personnel file. According to the memo, a staff member was concerned that Lee was meeting with girls in the boys locker-room coaches office.
Steve Nolder, an attorney with Columbus-based Scott & Nolder Law Firm, is representing Lee.
Nolder said his firm is gathering facts to learn the details about the case and what the government likely could prove Lee has done.
“We’re just kind of in the evaluation stage of the case,” he said.
Columbus Dispatch reporter Earl Rinehart contributed to this story.