Formal charges still pending against former Highland teacher

2011-11-28T17:30:00Z 2014-07-18T18:32:07Z Formal charges still pending against former Highland teacherBy Carmen McCollum, (219) 662-5337

HIGHLAND | Formal charges still are pending against a Highland High School teacher fired Nov. 23 for having an inappropriate relationship with a female student.

The school board convened a special meeting last week to fire Samuel Fies, 33, of St. John. The board based its decision on a recommendation from high school Principal Patrick Weil and School Town of Highland Superintendent Michael Boskovich.

In a letter to Fies dated Nov. 17, Weil notified Fies that his contract was being canceled because of inappropriate interaction with female students, including physical contact, requests for and suggestions of contact or relationship of a sexual nature and electronic communication of a sexual nature, which individually or collectively constitutes immorality and other good or just cause; communication with female students unrelated to legitimate educational or extracurricular purposes, which constitute other good or just cause; and non-cooperation with the administration and refusal to answer questions during its investigation of allegations of misconduct, which constitutes insubordination.

Highland attorney Rhett Tauber is representing the School Town of Highland in the matter, and all information related to the case has been turned over to him. Fies has hired Highland attorney Stephen Scheele.

Scheele said Monday that Fies has not been formally charged.

"Even if he is charged at some point, he is presumed innocent and we would ask the public to respect that presumption," Scheele said.

Cmdr. George Georgeff said Highland police have presented charges to the Lake County prosecutor but action has not yet been taken.

Fies also was swim coach for the boys and girls varsity teams in Griffith for four years, concluding last school year. Griffith Superintendent Pete Morikis said a new swimming coach was hired this year. He said no complaints about Fies ever were brought to his attention.

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