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Charge dropped for former Montville principal in slapboxing case

September 26, 2018

Norwich — Jeffrey Theodoss, the retired Montville high school principal, no longer faces a charge of failure to report suspected abuse connected to multiple slapboxing bouts in a substitute’s class last fall.

Prosecutors on Tuesday entered a nolle prosequi accepted by Norwich Superior Court Judge Nuala Droney, effectively dismissing the charge against Theodoss after months of continuances and discussions between attorneys, Theodoss’s lawyer Richard Brown said Tuesday evening.

Inquiries by the Department of Children and Families and the state’s attorney’s office led to failure to report charges against Theodoss, Superintendent Brian Levesque and Assistant Principal Tatiana Patten. All three administrators pleaded not guilty earlier this year.

The investigation, sparked in December by a student who told a DCF social worker he’d been bullied at the school, led to multiple charges against substitute teacher Ryan Fish, who is accused of supervising multiple classroom fights last fall.

A message left with Fish’s attorney Paul Chinigo was not immediately responded to Tuesday evening. The Norwich Bulletin reported that Fish applied for accelerated rehabilitation, which would clear his record provided he meets certain requirements and follows conditions, such as community service or counseling.

Fish has pleaded not guilty to two counts of risk of injury to a minor, second-degree breach of peace and four counts of second-degree reckless endangerment.

Brown said he and Theodoss never believed the case against administrators was justified. Because officials fired Fish four days after Levesque received emails containing videos of one of the fights, and students involved were disciplined, the administrators “felt it was handled in a timely fashion,” Brown said.

Brown added that Theodoss was pleased with the outcome but described the case as a “difficult experience for him and his family.”

“He just needs to move on with his life,” Brown said.

Theodoss retired at the end of August. The Board of Education in August appointed Heather Sangermano, who filled in for Theodoss when he was placed on leave in the spring, the new principal.

Levesque and Patten remain on paid leave.

Levesque’s case has been pushed until Oct. 23, and Patten’s until Oct. 18, according to Patten’s attorney Dado Coric.

Coric said he’d “been having discussions that have been positive and fruitful” with prosecutors.

“We are close to a resolution,” he said.

A voicemail left with Levesque’s attorney Christian Sarantopoulos on Tuesday evening was not immediately returned.

b.kail@theday.com

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