LAFAYETTE — The new principal of Stanley Middle School has been placed on leave while the district investigates her previous job at San Ramon Valley High, where she investigated and cleared a teacher now accused of child molestation.
In an email to parents over the weekend, Lafayette School District Superintendent Brent Stephens announced he was placing Nicole Chaplan on leave, citing reporting by this news organization that raised questions about missing records involving Nicholas Moseby, who has been charged with molesting students in the high school, a Danville middle school, and a local cheer instruction organization where he taught.
An investigation in the 2021-2022 school year, led by Chaplan, accepted Moseby’s denial when girls accused him of inappropriate behavior. But now, the Contra Costa District Attorney charged Moseby with misdemeanors for the same alleged conduct, raising questions as to how district officials could have found no wrongdoing when prosecutors and a judge reached a different conclusion.
Stephens wrote that he has made no decision on whether Chaplan did anything wrong, but that the Bay Area News Group report, “raises questions about the district’s overall handling of these allegations, including whether investigations were conducted adequately, whether reporting requirements were fulfilled, and whether investigations records were properly created and maintained.”
“Reading the article objectively, it is not possible to know with certainty what happened during this period of time. Still, the primary responsibility of the Lafayette School District is to provide for the safety of our students,” he wrote. “For this reason, I feel it necessary to conduct our own investigation into what took place during this time so that we can, as much as possible, review source documents and determine what is factually accurate.”
San Ramon Valley High School Unified School District Superintendent John Malloy has publicly acknowledged a complete investigative report cannot be located and that officials only discovered the files were missing after Moseby’s arrest, when county prosecutors requested them. Chaplan claims she left the records in her office, Malloy said, but they have not been located. Asked at her home about the files, Chaplan declined comment and told a reporter to leave her property.
Not all the records from Moseby’s time at the district are missing. Emails and other documents obtained through a records request show that within Moseby’s first two months at San Ramon Valley High, two freshmen girls filed a complaint in October 2021 accusing him of whispering “you are lucky you guys are hot.” Chaplan took the lead on investigating students complaints about Moseby, despite having a potential conflict of interest. She was a personal reference for Moseby when he applied and got the San Ramon Valley High teaching job. Chaplan apparently knew him from his work as a local cheer coach at Nor*Cal Elites, a cheer instruction organization where Moseby has also been charged with groping a student.
“It is concerning that the school cannot locate the files,” Malloy said in an interview. “I can confirm that from this situation we are working vigilantly to strengthen our existing procedures related to investigations and documentation.”
Felony charges were filed against Moseby last September, after he allegedly sent a Nor*Cal Elites student a picture of his genitals on Snapchat. Since then, prosecutors have identified four more alleged victims and charged Moseby with a slurry of felonies and misdemeanors for allegedly groping girls, including the sexual assault of a middle school student, and making inappropriate comments.
Moseby was hired for the 2021-2022 school year, despite having been convicted in Arizona with providing alcohol to a minor and charged in Alameda County with soliciting a prostitute, according to court records. District officials acknowledged knowing about the Arizona case but say Moseby failed to mention the Alameda County prosecution, which involved Moseby responding to an undercover cop’s prostitution ad.
Under state law, adults can be charged with a misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a minor for making sexualized comments to kids. Last December, Superior Court Judge John Cope ruled at a preliminary hearing prosecutors presented enough evidence to order Moseby to stand trial on all charges. Moseby posted bail and was released from the Martinez Detention Facility soon after.
Stephens’ statement urges people not to rush to judgment and says Chaplan has already “contributed thoughtfully” to the Stanley Middle School community.
“This is a decision I do not take lightly, and I am committed both to protecting our students’ wellbeing and to treating all our employees with fairness and respect. I ask the same from everyone,” Stephens wrote.
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