The principal of an Omaha elementary school has been placed on leave a week after a first-grade teacher at the school was charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child, a 7-year-old first-grader.
The move comes as Omaha police are investigating allegations that the teacher, 30-year-old Gregory Sedlacek, sexually assaulted four other first-grade girls at the school, Fontenelle Elementary.
Sedlacek was arrested Dec. 3 after other teachers at Fontenelle contacted the Nebraska child abuse hotline. Two teachers said they saw “inappropriate contact” between Sedlacek and a first-grade girl on the school playground, Omaha police have said.
Prosecutor Eric Fabian said last week that the teachers saw Sedlacek touching the 7-year-old girl’s buttocks and legs under her skirt and that the girl sat on his lap at the bottom of a slide. The girl later told investigators that Sedlacek had digitally penetrated her vagina with his fingers.
An email that went to Fontenelle parents on Tuesday said, in part, “We wanted to inform you that Principal Eric Nelson is out on leave. Scott Sturgeon, Executive Director of School Support and Supervision, will support Fontenelle during this time.
“Due to privacy issues, we cannot share information beyond that at this time.”
The letter does not make any mention of Sedlacek.
Sedlacek was placed on administrative leave Nov. 20, an Omaha Public Schools official said. The district told the Omaha Police Department on Nov. 27 that there was security video of the contact between him and the girl. Police officials interviewed the girl after they saw what they considered potentially criminal conduct on the video.
Sedlacek is being held without bail. He had given detectives a list of several other girls he had touched inappropriately, a prosecutor said in court last week. He also told police he was sexually attracted to young girls.
The other police reports involving Sedlacek involve four girls, all of whom are 6 years old. The reports said the alleged assaults occurred this school year at Fontenelle, 3905 N. 52nd St., where Sedlacek had taught for three years.
Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle said Tuesday that prosecutors have not yet reviewed the new police reports. Once the County Attorney’s Office reviews the reports, she said, officials will decide on whether to file any additional charges.
Prior to working for OPS, Sedlacek was dismissed from a Catholic seminary in 2014 after an official from Red Cloud Indian School on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation contacted the Archdiocese of Omaha about Sedlacek.
Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor and spokesman for the archdiocese, said a school official wrote a letter raising concerns about Sedlacek. The official said Sedlacek’s contract with the school district wasn’t renewed because he had violated a policy on maintaining appropriate boundaries with children, McNeil said.
Parents or guardians with children who have concerns that their children may have been abused can call police or the Nebraska child abuse hotline at 1-800-652-1999.