OGDEN -- Ben Lomond High School Principal Ben Smith remains on leave more than a month after a police investigation into allegations that a school official knew about child sexual abuse and failed to report it.
The case involved a relationship between a BLH student and an assistant swim coach.
Ogden School District declined to confirm the reasons behind Smith's leave, saying the case was a private personnel matter.
Smith, contacted at home, said his only comment would be no comment until his attorney advised him to talk.
Police involvement began with the early March arrest of Ben Lomond High School volunteer assistant swim coach Jamie J. Waite, 35, who was charged with child sexual abuse involving a 17-year-old student.
Waite has a June 1 preliminary hearing on felony charges of child sex abuse.
In an Ogden Police Department report, officers list the subject being investigated as the principal, a position held by Smith.
Although the report had the principal's name blacked out, the black space was consistent with an eight-letter name with a break after the first three letters.
Investigating officers wrote, "During the investigation of the sex abuse, it was determined Principal (name blacked out) had been contacted by the victim's parents regarding Facebook texts between the student and asst. coach. Law enforcement or DCFS was not contacted and the child abuse reporting statute may have been violated."
The Standard-Examiner obtained a copy of the investigative report through an open records request.
Ogden City Prosecutor Mike Junk declined to pursue the case "due to insufficient evidence," the report said.
Lt. Scott Conley, who heads the child crime division of the police department, said charges were referred for failure to report and possibly obstruction of justice, but Junk chose not to file charges.
"There was not enough evidence to file (charges)," Conley said. "But we should have been notified."
When contacted, Junk said the issue was whether the investigation proved that the principal's actions of hiding the sexual relationship were intentional.
"We couldn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.
Conley said police estimate the principal was aware of the relationship about a month before Waite's arrest, but Conley did not detail whether the principal took any disciplinary action against her.
Both Conley and Junk would not disclose the subject of the investigation, saying that, because no criminal charges were filed, the school district would be responsible for disclosing identification.
During a Monday-morning video announcement at Ben Lomond High School, Bruce Penland, Ogden School District executive director of secondary education and student services, told students that Smith's administrative leave is a private matter.
"Anytime it's a personnel matter, we are not at liberty to discuss it," Penland said, asking students to respect Smith's privacy.
"It's hard. Everybody loves Ben. He's a lovable character, and the kids certainly want to know why he is not there," Penland told the Standard-Examiner. "It's natural for kids and the staff to ask. We felt it was appropriate for students to give them a little information, all we could give."
Penland said he couldn't predict when Smith might return or when someone might be appointed to take his place as principal.
"We basically have said consistently that we don't know when closure is going to happen," Penland said. "The process is in progress, and we don't have any idea how long it is going to take."
Penland declined to say whether Smith's leave was a paid administrative leave, saying providing such information would be an invasion of Smith's privacy.
During the school announcement, Penland also told BLH students that Assistant Principal Peggy Dooling-Baker would be "taking an administrative lead" and that Erin Sauls, a teaching coach at Highland Junior High, would step in to offer additional administrative support to Dooling-Baker and the other assistant principal, Ed Morris.
Ben Lomond High student Austin Miller, 16, said he didn't find the announcement very satisfying.
"They were basically saying 'deal with it' until he gets back or we find out what is going on, but we all love our principal and we want to know why he is gone," he said.
"I am sick of all the rumors. It's a big distraction for us. At least one period a day, I hear someone talking about why Principal Smith is gone."
Miller said several rumors were circulating at the school about Smith's extended leave, including that he didn't report what he knew about the relationship between the swim coach and the student.
"I know the principal quite well, and I know that he is not the type of person to do these things," Miller said.
Miller has started a petition asking that Smith be allowed to attend May 24 graduation as the principal, to sit on stage and to shake the hands of graduating seniors.
As of Tuesday, Miller said, 178 students had signed the petition.
Smith has been principal at Ben Lomond High since July 2003.