By ANDREW MASSE, ERIN EDWARDS, AYAH GALAL, KEVIN HOGAN, ROGER SUSANIN
PLAINFIELD, Connecticut (WFSB) — A former Plainfield teacher faced a judge on Wednesday after being accused of having several inappropriate relationships with students.
The investigations began back in May when a parent contacted police to claim 31-year-old Craig McCue, then an 8th grade social studies teacher at Plainfield Central School, sent inappropriate text messages to their child.
Some of the text messages revealed that McCue had given the child marijuana and sent several inappropriate photographs.
Investigators said that McCue actually had several inappropriate relationships with other minors.
He was arrested on the strength of three arrest warrants that charged him with two counts of sexual assault and seven counts of risk of injury to a minor.
Police said all of the victims were under the age of 16 and were students, former players, and students he had coached.
Officials with the Plainfield School District said they were alerted about this case during the 2020-2021 school year.
They released a statement:
Upon learning of the pending investigation, district administrators immediately placed the teacher on administrative leave with pay and steps were taken to ensure that the teacher would not enter onto school property.
The statement continued:
While the investigation was pending, the teacher resigned employment with the Plainfield Public Schools. The teacher has not been an employee of the Plainfield Public Schools during the 2021-2022 academic year.
McCue resigned last semester from his position at Plainfield Middle School as eighth grade social studies teacher.
One parent Eyewitness News spoke with, who asked not to be identified, is disgusted by the situation, the teacher, the school district, and, what he called, the dragged out investigation.
“I saw the information on the cell phone and at that point, I took it to Plainfield Police,” the parent told Channel 3.
The parent, according to investigative sources, is related to one of McCue’s victims.
“A grown man who has access to your children. What he is is a pedophile,” the parent noted.
An arrest warrant affidavit obtained by Eyewitness News says:
“When asked if McCue ever touched in any inappropriate areas….the juvenile victim said McCue “grabbed” his [private area] “ a couple of times”.”
The suspect was quoted in the affidavit as saying, “McCue said ‘yeah it was true unfortunately.’”
Court documents said in one instance, one of the victims pulled out his genitals while at a gas station after McCue asked him to do so.
McCue proceeded to touch the victim’s genitals in an inappropriate way before exposing himself to the juvenile.
One of the victims said that McCue sent them an inappropriate picture on Snapchat and later apologized, saying “sorry bro, I’m high right now”.
The same victim noted that McCue had given him a cookie and brownie, both laced with marijuana.
McCue, who had been an employee at Plainfield Middle School for three years, told authorities that he would keep in touch with students over the summer through Google Chat.
Shortly after, some of his students began asking him for advice on how to build muscle. Documents revealed that McCue would drive students to the gym, sometimes even accompanying them.
McCue said “that they were just friends, workout partners, and that they would talk about working out”.
“We’re just friends that say like I love you, bro,” McCue said in a statement.
One of the juveniles did tell McCue that he was straight and had a girlfriend, and when McCue would give him a ride to the gym, they said:
“McCue gave off a “weird vibe” like “he wasn’t all there”.”
The school district also said that district employees are subject to a background check that includes criminal records.
McCue doesn’t have any criminal history, according to public records.
In court, McCue’s defense attorney Stephen McEleney said:
“We learned of these allegations in May. I told him he was going to get arrested. He did not run.”
We understand this is not McCue’s first issue in a school district. He was fired last January as coach in North Stonington following an “inappropriate incident”.
It’s alleged that McCue bought members of the basketball team condoms and talked about “having sex with girls”, among other allegations.
In a letter sent to district parents, the district writes:
“In January, 2021, we were made of an inappropriate incident involving an athletic coach. The incident occurred outside the school day, off school property and was not during a sanctioned school activity.”
Various inappropriate pictures of young boys were found when police searched through McCue’s phone. One victim did note that he would send McCue photos of himself, because, at times, he had been asked to.
His bond had been set at $200,000, but it was lowered to $100,000 on Wednesday during his court appearance and requires that McCue not have any contact with the district or be around minors unsupervised.
At a Board of Education meeting, one question was on parents minds.
A parent at the meeting said, “As a parent I’m pleading with you, save these children.”
The Plainfield School District said while the investigation was pending, McCue resigned, and he has not been an employee of Plainfield Public Schools during this school year.
“These people should not be resigning they should be fired. Fired for what they’ve done to children,” said another parent.
The superintendent said, “I want to ensure parents we take this incident and these allegations very seriously. And we are looking for swift justice from the courts.”
The school district said employees are subject to background checks that include criminal records.
McCue doesn’t have any criminal history, but he was fired from his coaching job with the Stonington School District last January.
In a statement the district said: “In January 2021, we were made aware of an inappropriate incident involving an athletic coach. The incident occurred outside the school day, off school property and was not during a sanctioned school activity.”
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