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EHOVE teacher quits amid allegations

bigjoe • Dec 15, 2010 at 2:31 PM

No charges have been filed, but an EHOVE instructor is looking for a new job.

Ned McElfresh resigned Dec. 6 as an EMT/firefighter instructor amid allegations of wrongdoing involving him and at least one student.

"We have instituted a criminal investigation into an allegation into an improper relationship or relationships between a teacher and student or students at EHOVE," Erie County Sheriff Office Capt. Paul Sigsworth said.

"No one has been criminally charged.," Sigsworth said. "The detectives have conducted a number of interviews and are continuing their fact-gathering process."

EHOVE Superintendent Sharon Mastroianni said things happened fast.

"I learned of the investigation after school Thursday, the second of December," she said. "They asked to see Mr. McElfresh's file. They were starting the investigation so they did not reveal much at all.

"I talked to Ned about their interest in their file. He was not forthcoming with any information. My discussion was the detectives were here looking at his file.

"The next day, a Friday, he called in sick, then on Monday he cleared out his desk and resigned. We accepted his resignation on Wednesday, Dec. 8."

Mastroianni, superintendent at EHOVE since 2006, said "nothing was documented in his file" about past problems.

"If we would have had any kind of report of a problem, we would have done a full investigation. The only thing that is required of us is to report to the state board of investigation that Ned resigned and is being investigated. We filed that report."

The ongoing investigation involves "possible unethical behavior," Mastroianni said. "As far as I know, no charges have been filed yet against Ned."

McElfresh, who is either 39 or 40 and lives in Clyde, started working at EHOVE in 2002. He has a class of 16 juniors and 27 seniors for a total of 43 students.

Mastroianni said she has not dealt with this type of situation since becoming superintendent.

"If ever that kind of information comes forward, we would do an investigation," she said. "After the board accepted Ned's resignation, we send out a letter to the parents. We have a certified replacement in the classroom and we will post the job for a certified EMT/fire instructor.

"We always have to be alert that our students are safe both emotionally and physically. We have to listen to what students are saying."

McElfresh spent a year in Djibouti and other places in Africa to provide humanitarian assistance.

He was featured in a 2009 Reflector story.

The fire and EMS training instructor was deployed with the U.S. Army Dec. Co. 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Whitehall. He led one of the teams providing relief work, such as reconstructing schools ruined during times of strife.

McElfresh's attorney, Troy D. Wisehart, was unavailable Wednesday morning for comment.

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