New details have emerged about rape allegations against a now-terminated administrator at a Massachusetts high school, and two additional staff members have been placed on leave after more accusations of "staff misconduct" come to light.
Officials at Lawrence's Central Catholic High School said an allegation was made last week by a member of the class of 2008 that he was drugged and raped in 2006 by school administrator Andrew Nikonchuk, who was fired by the school on Wednesday.
Officials say the alleged incident, which is being investigated by the Middlesex district attorney's office and Lowell police, did not happen on school property. The DA's office confirms it is continuing to investigate the allegations against Nikonchuk, but as far as we know, no criminal charges have been filed at this time.
Previously, officials said Nikonchuk was fired because "he had violated the school's policies pertaining to appropriate social boundaries between students and faculty."
Later on Thursday, the school's president, Christopher F. Sullivan, issued another statement to the community explaining that "two more allegations of staff misconduct" have come to light, and that two more staff members have been placed on administrative leave.
In neither of those cases were students alleged to have been physically harmed, according to Sullivan. One staff member is accused of posting "compromising photos of himself on an adults-only, password-protected website," and that copies of photos have circulated. The other is accused of sending inappropriate messages in March to a former student who graduated in 2016.
"I want to assure all of Central's students and parents that we are doing everything in our power to investigate each and every allegation that is brought to our attention. Our school's first responsibility is to protect the safety and well-being of every one of our students. Over the past week, I have been made aware of three separate matters in which adult members of our community are alleged to have fallen short of that responsibility," Sullivan wrote. "We understand that we must be completely transparent and hope by providing more facts about each allegation, our students, parents, alumni and friends will understand that we continue to work toward making Central Catholic a safe and secure environment for all of its members."
According to Sullivan, the school learned of Nikonchuk's alleged violation of "social boundaries" on April 20. He says school is cooperating with the criminal investigation that is now underway after learning of the 2006 rape allegations.
"We stand ready to help and support this victim, who came to us voluntarily," he wrote.
NBC Boston tracked Nikonchuk down at his parents' house. His father would not speak on camera, but told us off camera, "My son is a great kid. He didn't do it. If you knew my son, you would understand he didn't do it. He's done great things for that school."
Nikonchuk, a 1998 graduate of the school, was originally hired as a science teacher and promoted a few years ago to director of curriculum and instruction, as well as a liaison to the boys' ice hockey team.
"It's really messed up, kind of makes you uncomfortable - makes you super uncomfortable," CCHS junior Georgia Brox said.
Nikonchuk's attorney said he would have no comment on the case.