Danville school officials face criminal charges, accused of failure to report alleged inappropriate contact between student, teacher

Martha Tucker, Caledonia Central Supervisory Union superintendent. Photo from Vermont State Police

Martha Tucker, Caledonia Central Supervisory Union superintendent. Photo from Vermont State Police

Noah Noyes, Danville School principal for grades 7-12. Photo from Vermont State Police

Noah Noyes, Danville School principal for grades 7-12. Photo from Vermont State Police

Editor’s note: This story is by Todd Wellington, a staff writer at the Caledonian-Record, where it was first published July 9,  2013.

The Danville School principal and Caledonia Central Supervisory Union superintendent are facing criminal charges after being accused of failing to report an allegation of inappropriate contact between a male teacher and a female student at Danville High School.

State police said Martha Tucker, CCSU superintendent, and Noah Noyes, principal of grades 7-12 at the Danville School, were both cited Monday on charges of failure to report child abuse and neglect of duty by a public officer.

Both were summoned to the state police barracks in St. Johnsbury Monday afternoon for mug shots. Both were cited and released pending an Aug. 12 arraignment.

If convicted of the charges, Tucker and Noyes both face possible sentences of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Tucker and Noyes are both accused of not reporting an allegation of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Families as required by law.

School officials and employees are known as “mandatory reporter,” required by law to report suspicions of child abuse to the Department for Children and Families (DCF) within 24 hours.

According to a release from Detective Trooper Lyle Decker, Noyes and Tucker failed to notify DCF of a student’s allegations that she’d been inappropriately touched twice by a teacher on April 29. DCF only learned of the incident after they were contacted by the student’s parents on May 8, at which point DCF contacted the police. Detectives with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation began an investigation, and learned that the incident was initially reported to Noyes, who subsequently advised Tucker. However neither Noyes nor Tucker reported the incident to DCF within 24 hours, police said.

Police said the investigation underlying allegations involving the April 29 touching incident remains open and ongoing.

The Danville School Board has scheduled a special meeting for tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Caledonia Central Supervisory Union at 6:30 p.m. According to the meeting agenda, the board will call itself to order and then vote on a motion to go into a secret non-public executive session under the “personnel” exemption.

Board members weren’t saying much about the charges Monday night.

School directors Fred Kitchel and Walter Smith, who works as a Vermont State trooper, referred questions to board chairman Dan Ouellette. Ouellette said he would not have an official response until after tonight’s meeting.

“At this point I have no comment,” said Oellette Monday.

School directors Sandy Hausermann and David Towle did not return calls seeking comment.

The Caledonia Central Supervisory Union serves Danville, Barnet, Peacham and Walden school districts.

Kitchel, who also serves on the CCSU board, said no meeting of that board to discuss the charges had yet been scheduled.

Tucker was hired as CCSU superintendent in 2008. She had previously worked for the Montpelier School District.

Noyes came to Danville in 2011 after working as a science teacher at Lamoille Union Middle School.

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