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Catholic School Principal Placed On Administrative Leave After Possible Inappropriate Contact With Students

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By Jim Osman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The principal of a Roman Catholic elementary school in Delaware County has been placed on administrative leave but the reason is unclear.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Dennis Reitano was placed on leave Monday “after concerns were raised during a Safe Environment lesson” at Saint Madeline-Saint Rose School in Ridley Park, Delaware County.

“It makes me sick to my stomach,” said Carly Childers, as she reacted to a letter sent home to parents. “I’ve met him a few times and he always seemed nice. There was nothing that made me think otherwise.”

Officials said a report was made to law enforcement and authorities are investigating. The archdiocese declined to elaborate on what concerns were raised but called it a personnel issue.

State Welfare Department officials say the claims against Reitano were not sexual abuse allegations but about “not respecting personal boundaries.” They also would not elaborate.

“It was very important to the parish, the school and the Archdiocese that we communicate with the parents and that’s why the letter went home last night because authorities are investigating,” said Donna Farrell, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. “We’re not able to elaborate.”

Safe Environment is a program that teaches about healthy relationships between young people and adults.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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