Scappoose school board weighs internal investigation findings
It's not clear what steps the Scappoose School District will take after receiving the results of an investigation into former Superintendent Ron Alley earlier this week.
The Scappoose School District board of directors held an executive session Monday, Sept. 10, to review a complaint filed against a past employee, who was later identified as Alley. Board Chair Phil Lager said the board had been made aware of the investigation results and had notified the complainant, an employee with the district, this week of the findings, per board policy.
Since Alley is no longer an employee, the board is not required to take any further action, Lager explained. An option available to the board, however, is for it to bring the investigative findings to the Oregon Teacher and Standards Practices Commission, which can issue sanctions against educators for untoward conduct.
Alley, who was hired in 2014 to lead Scappoose Middle School, served as the interim superintendent during the 2017-18 school year following the sudden departure of Stephen Jupe last summer. In April, Alley was pegged as one of two finalists to be hired as the full-time superintendent. Anonymous allegations of sexual harassment against Alley were submitted to the district board, specifically Lager, after Alley was identified as a finalist.
The school board was initially dismissive of the anonymous complaints and was prepared to offer Alley the position. But Alley withdrew himself from consideration for the superintendent role before it was officially offered to him. At the time, he said he intended to return to the director of curriculum position. Then, in early June, Alley submitted a resignation letter stating he would leave the district at the end of the month.
The school district received a formal complaintagainst Alley from a district employee and ordered an investigation into the complaint in late April, according to a press release from the district. At the time, the district released limited information about the case, but stated a third-party private investigator retained by the district's legal counsel, Hungerford Law, was handling the complaint.
A full copy of the investigation results was not released to the Spotlight after a public records request was made earlier this year. The district instead released a condensed report containing a summary of facts within the investigation subject to public disclosure.
The complaint outlines three major allegations, two of which were substantiated, according to the public record.
The investigation found that Alley made veiled threats toward the complainant by sending a text message to the complainant and sending an email to a third party about the employee not replying to emails, indicating the complainant "has mental issues," according to the report.
While the allegations were founded, legal counsel determined the threats were not made repeatedly or against the employee as a protected class, which would constitute harassment. The investigation also showed Alley sent an email a third party that referenced "certain sexual activity" of the employee.
The third complaint was not founded according to the investigation.
Evidence in the investigative documents indicates Alley was in a relationship with the employee who filed the complaint, although he did not supervise the complainant. Documents related to the investigation identify Alley and the person filing the complaint as a "couple."
Human Resources Director Deanna Rask said the district does not have a published policy that prohibits employees from dating.