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March 13, 2014

District attorney: No criminal conduct by principal

NEW CASTLE — An investigation into allegations lodged against a New Castle junior high school principal has found no evidence of criminal conduct.

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa (pictured at right) said in a prepared statement that it is the opinion of his office that Robert Razzano “did not engage in any type of criminally prosecutable conduct. The majority of the allegations lodged against Principal Razzano, if established, may constitute violations of the school district’s policy on professionalism, employee conduct and/or harassment.”

He said the completed investigation will be turned over to the district’s attorneys “for action in compliance with school policy and procedure.”

Razzano, 52, was placed on paid administrative leave Feb. 19 during the investigation.

Lamancusa said the investigation by New Castle police and his office was conducted regarding complaints “made by numerous” school district employees and parents “alleging violations of school policy and possible criminal conduct committed” by Razzano.

He noted police detectives had conducted numerous interviews under the supervision of Chief Robert Salem and, on March 3, his office received the report of the investigation for review.

Lamancusa said he personally conducted several interviews after March 3.

“The investigation consisted of thorough witness interviews, review and follow-up of all alleged victim statements, and a detailed inspection of all documentation on file with the school district. Additionally, substantial efforts were made to locate and interview every individual claiming any type of negative interaction with Principal Razzano.”

Lamancusa would not specify the number of complaints that had been filed.

He said he did not know the time period when the alleged incidents occurred, adding, “That’s an issue the school board is going to have to deal with.”

Lamancusa said the documentation regarding Razzano was of a recent nature.

He said there was no indication that previous complaints had been filed with the district.

“We interviewed all the people who gave statements to the school and we interviewed additional people.

“Given the high profile nature of the case, this is something Chief Salem and I supervised.”

Lamancusa said he met with the school administration and a teachers union representative Friday. He said he did not discuss what his office had concluded.

“I discussed the process that was being employed and the variety of possible outcomes.”

Razzano was named principal for seventh and eighth grades July 29 under a 12-month contract. His base salary for the current year is $109,020.

Attempts to reach superintendent John Sarandrea, district solicitor Charles Sapienza and Razzano Wednesday were unsuccessful.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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