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  Shortly After Allegations Of Bullying Made In Court Document, Mooney President And School Principal Leave Their Positions  
  February 6, 2020 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Following a hearing in a Mahoning County Common Pleas Courtroom involving allegations of bullying at Cardinal Mooney High School, as well as failure to fully investigate those allegations, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announced last week the President of Mooney, Mark Oles, and the school principal, Mark Vollmer, were leaving their positions “effectively immediately.”
      Additionally, there have been allegations of a second instance of bullying, but those did not become part of a court case. In both instances, the student-athlete who made the claims, transferred from Mooney to Ursuline High School.
      “We realize that sudden change like this will most likely prompt questions and perhaps, speculation and rumor. We want to emphasize that this change is the result of much discussion, review and reflection about what is best for Cardinal Mooney’s students, parents, teachers, staff and many other supporters,” Diocesan Bishop The Most Rev. George Murry said.
      The claims of bullying surfaced in court documents filed in relation to a complaint for an injunction that was heard in the courtroom of Judge Anthony M. D’Apolito in mid-January. The injunction was sought to prevent the Ohio High School Athletic Commission from ruling a student-athlete at Ursuline, who had transferred from Mooney, was ineligible to participate in a full season of an interscholastic sport program.
      According to the complaint filed by Atty. Justin Markota, one student claimed during the time of his enrollment as a freshman at Mooney in 2017, through Oct., 2019, he was the victim of “ongoing intimidation, harassment and bullying from his classmates.”
      As a sophomore, according to the complaint, the ongoing effects of “intimidation, harassment and bullying...prompted the student to undergo counseling,” and by his junior year, “the intimidation, harassment and bullying...from fellow classmates progressed to the point where he began experiencing diminishing grades, anxiety and overall fear for his safety while attending classes.”
      According to the complaint, the child’s mother informed Vollmer and Oles about the bullying in early October, 2019 and then the child transferred to Ursuline in mid-October.
      “His parents felt...the transfer was necessary for [the child’s] mental and physical well-being, as the bullying was continuous,” the complaint says, adding that following his transfer to Ursuline, “the child remained in the care of a counselor.”
      Atty. Markota told the court “Cardinal Mooney did not formally investigate the bullying allegations...nor did [the school] prepare a written, investigative report” following the child’s transfer to Ursuline.
      Counsel said in the complaint that Vollmer said he was aware of the bullying complaint and told teachers to monitor the school hallways.
      “Vollmer explained he did not interview any students, or prepare a rewritten report of any bullying findings following [the student’s] transfer,” Atty. Markota said.
      Judge D’Apolito granted injunctive relief to allow the student to participate, for now, in interscholastic sports, and set another hearing in the matter in February.
      According to the Diocese, for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, Cardinal Mooney CEO Richard Osborne will assume the president’s duties, and Dr. Mary Anne Beiting, director of accreditation and government programs for the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools, will assume the role of interim principal at Cardinal Mooney.
      “Both have been working at the school on a daily basis since last November,” the Diocese said.
      Osborne previously served as president at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, overseeing a period of substantial growth in enrollment and fundraising, the Diocese said, adding “Those issues have been his focus since joining Mooney.”
      Beiting served for 26 years as principal at Archbishop Hoban High School and “will continue her work at Mooney on strategic programs and policies to strengthen the school’s academics,” the Diocese said.
      Bishop Murry said an extensive search for the next Cardinal Mooney president and principal will begin soon, noting the school “has a proud, rich tradition of sanctity, scholarship and discipline. We will build on that as we move forward.”
 
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