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Police: No record of investigation of Manchester school coach

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 24. 2013 8:10PM

MANCHESTER - Two local police agencies say they have no record of an investigation into a Manchester High School West coach who allegedly had sexual relations with a student, even though the city's top school official insists the two agencies were informed of the allegations.

Superintendent Thomas Brennan said last week that he reported Nicholas Moutsioulis to Manchester and Bedford police and fulfilled all obligations required of him under state law.

Last April, Moutsioulis surrendered his teaching certificate and resigned a special education job at Memorial High School over allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student not enrolled at his school.

"It was reported to authorities. The authorities were involved with the processing of that situation," Brennan said. "I can only tell you I know we spoke to them. I don't know where it went once it got to the police station."

In her 2012 divorce petition, Moutsioulis' then wife - West High teacher Maria Moutsioulis - accused him of an adulterous relationship with a minor whom Moutsioulis had authority over. The petition also refers to the "criminal nature of the conduct."

State law requires teachers, school officials and a host of professionals to report suspected abuse to authorities.

Bedford police last week said there are no investigative files on Moutsioulis, and Manchester police insisted that no investigation took place. Nor is one taking place in light of a recent Union Leader report about Moutsioulis, Manchester police spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Tessier said.

"There's no investigation. There's not one currently. There's no record of an investigation," Tessier said.

Meanwhile, the county's top prosecutor ruled out launching an investigation because of what is contained in a divorce petition.

Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance spoke to the Union Leader before Brennan made his comments to a reporter. LaFrance said police need an "actionable" complaint to be filed before they investigate the allegations.

"No criminal case has been opened," LaFrance wrote in an email a week ago, after checking with Manchester police. "In order to do so, we would need an 'actionable' complaint filed - that is, by the alleged victim herself, or a friend, school official or relative that witnessed the abuse or was told about the abuse by the victim.

"We cannot rely on general allegations in divorce petitions as the basis for opening a criminal file," she wrote.

In the fall of 2011, Moutsioulis resigned mid-season as coach of the West girls' soccer team, citing personal reasons. Then in January 2012, education officials suspended him with pay from his Memorial teaching job. Four months later, Moutsioulis surrendered his teaching certificate, citing allegations of inappropriate conduct with a student.

He resigned his job the following day.

Neither the divorce file nor the revocation of Moutsioulis' teaching certificate spells out the nature of the conduct between Moutsioulis and the student. The Education Department said the individual was not a student at Memorial.

State law puts the age of consent for sexual relations at 16 or older. But LaFrance pointed out that state law prohibits an adult from using a position of authority to coerce anyone under age 18 into a sexual relationship.

"I interpret it as they're talking about a teacher-student relationship," LaFrance said. She recalled a case out of Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow where a teacher was successfully prosecuted for initiating sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl.

"She idolized him, and he played to her insecurities," LaFrance said. Were it not for the teacher-student relationship, he would have not gotten close to her, LaFrance said.

The girl in that case testified against the teacher. But if a student does not want to speak to police, authorities are at a loss.

"If the alleged victim refused to make a statement, we can't force someone to come in and point a finger at someone," LaFrance said.

New Hampshire law requires everyone to report suspected abuse, but LaFrance said most violations of the law are not prosecuted. If someone does not report, authorities will follow up with a discussion. LaFrance said reports should be made to the Division of Children, Youth and Families. If a social worker determines the abuse is not family-related, the agency will refer it to local police.

Most arrests for non-reporting deal with adults who don't report child abuse by a spouse or other family member, she said.

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