Champaign police found nothing amiss at St. Thomas More

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police concluded that there was nothing criminal in an incident that occurred at the High School of St. Thomas More earlier this month.

Lt. Joe Gallo confirmed Friday that an official affiliated with the Catholic high school on North Mattis Avenue in Champaign called the police department about 5:10 p.m. Nov. 8, asking that the police look into a Nov. 1 incident that happened with girls in the school's locker room.

Veteran Detective Don Shepard was assigned, and over the course of three days, interviewed six girls and at least two adults on the staff, he said.

"The investigation has revealed no indication by anyone, including the physical education teacher, of any touching of genitals, breasts or anything of a sexual nature," Shepard told The News-Gazette.

"There is no evidence of any criminal act and no one who is willing to testify for any criminal charges," Gallo added.

On Monday, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria informed parents that Principal Tim Millage had been relieved of his duties and that Assistant Principal Mike Scholz would be the acting principal until a new principal can be hired for the next school year. No reason was given for the personnel changes.

Millage, who had been principal since 2000, declined to talk to The News-Gazette. And diocesan spokeswoman Patricia Gibson has also declined to answer any questions about Millage's employment on behalf of the diocesan superintendent of schools, Brother William Dygart, or Bishop Daniel Jenky.

"It's the policy of the diocese that we have no comment concerning personnel matters," said Gibson, the diocese's chancellor. "We have no further comment regarding Mr. Millage and his employment at the high school."

Gallo characterized Shepard's investigation as "thorough."

"If there's a concern of improper behavior, it's appropriate to ask us to investigate, which we did in this instance. That's what we're paid to do," Gallo said.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Feltrino wrote on November 19, 2011 at 8:11 am

So Millage was fired because.....?

Spamus wrote on November 19, 2011 at 9:11 am

By now the kids there have known for some time most if not the whole deal as do a lot of their parents and their friends.

If you want to know more ask a kid from there what is posted about this on facebook.

Notwithstanding legal issues which always arise in these situations, common sense would dictate a bottom line explanation be made to the STM community as soon as possible about why the principal left. The longer the delay, the worse the speculation and the more annoyed some people will get with how the issues were managed.  In this situation it is tricky business to think that information can be managed in such a small community.  It is unlikely that any information or explanation would damage the overall good reputation of the school and the students there and overall good character and excellent reputation of the former principal.  

areader wrote on November 19, 2011 at 9:11 am

I agree!  So if nothing happened, why is Millage being fired????????  I think someone from this school needs to explain to parents of that school and NG readers, WHY. . . . .!!!!! 

STMpioneer wrote on November 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

Although I firmly believe Tim Millage is a good man who truly cared about the students and the school, STM has lost it's way over the course of the past years.  Standards have been (seemingly) arbitrarily enforced and the leadership has lost the moral courage to make difficult decisions regarding behaviour by the students.  There have been instances over the past 5-6 years where coaches should have been terminated, students suspended or expelled for behavior that is CLEARLY contrary to the Catholic school standards, yet nothing happens.  I have seen local public schools take more action for similar circumstances than STM has.  As a parent of students in the local Catholic school system, it has been horribly disappointing.

There have been too many instances of the "inmates running the asylum" at STM.  Certain families believe it is their birthright to have control and influence over the academic and athletic programs at the school.  The reasons for this vary, but it seems to be related to personal relationships with coaches and the amount of money you donate to the school.  As much as I appreciate the non-Catholic families enrollment at STM, many of them wield far too much power regarding the general direction of the school.

Thank God Monsignor Hallin has renewed his involvement at STM.  Hopefully he will help the school get back on the right path and create a learning environment that, as Catholics, we expect.  STM needs to redirect it's moral compass and mission. I don't believe that was Mr. Millage's fault, but sometimes a change in leadership is required to start the process.

I urge ALL parents at the school to look at themselves in the mirror and decide if their actions benefit  the ENTIRE school community, or merely their own selfish pursuits.

sahuoy wrote on November 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

STM functions on private dollars, not public tax dollars and so their course of action is not as a public school. Deal with it.  

areader wrote on November 20, 2011 at 5:11 am

In response to "pioneer's" comment - I think it is in very poor taste to use the the word INMATES!  If you reread the article, the police indicated that nothing was found to be WRONG!  And if you think things aren't going so well at the school, why don't YOU obtain an education in school administration if you don't have one already and submit your resume for HIS JOB!  IMO, you sound like quite an expert--just an objective observation. 

STMpioneer wrote on November 20, 2011 at 10:11 am

areader -

Over-react much?  "inmates running the asylum" is a very apt description that means the least qualified and most incompetent people think they are in charge...

It had nothing to do with the police report and was meant to illustrate what I have seen over the past ten years I have been involved with the school - that parents that have absolutely no business influencing and controlling the school think it is their right to do just that.

I have witnessed this for years over there and could write a book about what I have seen and what I know.

It is ashame that Tim Millage was put in a position of having to deal with this, and he should have gotten more support from what appears to be (or was) a very disinterested Pastor's Board. 

Peace

areader wrote on November 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Thanks for the clarification.  I'm sorry I misunderstood your comments.  Pls. accept my apology.

stmparent wrote on November 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

It has been brought to my attention that the way this article reads to an outsider looking in on this situation is that Mr. Millage was personally involved in the “Incident” in the locker room. I would like to clarify this. Some girls were innocently goofing off (like high school girls do) in the locker room when someone reported that they were touching another girl inappropriately.  Mr. Millage & Mr. Scholz investigated the situation and concluded that there was not any foul play.  Someone (nobody knows who yet) skipped the chain of command and went over the school administration & school boards head and reported this to the Dioceses of Peoria.  A week later the diocese shows up at the school and lets Mr. Millage go and then hires Veteran Dective Don Shepard to investigate. He completes his investigation finding the same results as Mr. Millage & Mr. Scholz did initially. The underlying issues are much more complicated than this however it was very upsetting to me that this article could possibly mislead people to think that Mr. Millage was involved in the “Incident” directly. He considered all the children at STM his children and watched over them diligently and would have never disregarded an incident that could have possibly harmed one of his students. He is a wonderful man. This whole situation is a travesty of justice!

AnotherSTMParent wrote on November 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

"Nobody knows who yet"?  That's funny.  Everyone knows exactly who did it.  That's exactly why it's become an issue about the so-called elites having their way.

ELITES wrote on November 29, 2011 at 12:11 am

The so-called ELITES are the main reason that school is still running.  Your comment is irrelevant to the story.  

readerstm wrote on December 02, 2011 at 7:12 am

Response to the comment "if it wasn't for the ELITE STM would not be running."  I believe the school is named "THE HIGH SCHOOL OF ST THOMAS MORE" not "THE HIGH SCHOOL OF THE ELITE.  Despite the fact that the comment had nothing to do with the article, it has  offended this parent. We have sent 2 children through STM and have other kids to follow.  Not  because we are the ELITE (we aren't even close to being in that "class") but because we believe in the mission of the school.  We want a catholic education for our children and we have made great sacrafices to send our kids there as well as help keep the school running. So I believe many non-elites have helped keep the doors of STM open.  The ELITE didn't make STM, the ELITE didn't dream about building STM--the community of parents that had a dream to build a catholic high school in Champaign and the community of parents in Champaign (surrounding areas) that wanted to give their children a catholic education are the ones that built the school and continue to support the school.  A couple of years ago, that school had over 375 kids, i think if one were to do their homework they may find that very few of those kids are ELITE.  The majority of the families at STM are not among the ELITE but make sacrifices to send their kids there for the right reasons--faculty, staff, administration, academics, opportunities and more importantly "LIVING THE FAITH"!  Giving and providing for others is called  stewardship!  If STM only exist because of the ELITE that may be news to the founders and supportors of STM and many of the kids that walked the halls of STM over the past 11 years.  The doors of STM are open because of those that live their faith and those that walk through those doors everyday--students, parents, teachers, administrators and the chaplin!!!