Riverhead Principal Resigns: Probe Continues

John Ray
Court papers allege that Riverhead principal Charles Regan took suggestive photos of himself and sent thousands of graphic texts to a student.

Disgraced Riverhead High School principal Charles Regan resigned effective September 27. He faces a slew of civil charges leveled by a 19-year-old former student who is charging he sexually harassed her.

There is also a criminal investigation into the matter and a second alleged victim from another school district about to file suit alleging statutory rape.

The resignation, revealed at a contentious school board meeting August 27, effectively halts an administrative hearing.

Regan will remain off campus and continue to draw his salary for another month, an annual salary of $188,000, which is being widely criticized by some district residents and parents, as well as the attorney for his accusers, John Ray of Miller Place. “The facts are overwhelmingly against him. He should resign immediately. There’s no reason to pay him until then,” Ray said.

The Riverhead student, Anastasia Stapon, has also brought a federal lawsuit against Regan and the district, as well as current and former school board members and district officials.

Disciplinary charges against the former principal will be dismissed because the hearing officer now lacks jurisdiction to proceed with the charges, Riverhead Central School District Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez explained.

Ray felt the board should have refused to accept the resignation — it was accepted by a 4-3 margin — and proceeded with the hearing.

“He doesn’t get to decide. We’re letting this monster call the shots,” Ray said, adding there is overwhelming evidence to support an immediate termination. “We have 11,700 texts, many graphic. We have pictures taken from his phone.”

District officials acknowledged there would be unused vacation pay coming to Regan in addition to another month’s pay. His state pension will likely be unaffected by the deal.

The superintendent said the district will do “everything in our power to implore the State Education Department to make the right decision” about the former principal’s certifications and licenses.

In addition to the district, Regan, Superintendent Henriquez, and board members Susan Koukounas, Christopher Dorr, Laurie Downs, Gregory Meyer, Elizabeth Silva, Therese Zuhoski, and Brian Connelly, the complaint names as defendants past superintendents Nancy Carney and Paul Doyle, past assistant superintendent Joseph Ogeka, former principal James McCaffrey, and past board members Lori Hulse, Nancy Gassert, Kathleen Berezny, Brian Stark, Mary-Ellen Harkin, Timothy Griffing, Christine Prete, and Angela DeVito.

Connelly, Downs, and Zuhoski were the three board members who voted not to accept the resignation.

Regan, a tenured employee, was first hired by the Riverhead Central School District as an assistant principal at the high school in June 2006. Prior to that, he worked in the Eastport-South Manor Central School District.

In May, Ray announced his intention to file another federal suit against Eastport-South Manor on behalf of a 35-year-old woman who maintains she had a relationship with Regan beginning when she was 13, and a student at Dayton Avenue School. Statutory rape is being alleged in the case of the Eastport student.

Ray is perplexed by the effort of police investigators. To his knowledge, no one has checked Regan’s home computer for child porn, for example. Ray also wondered if Riverhead school board members knew of prior allegations when they hired him.

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