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Police look into alleged rape by McKinley coach

Former student makes allegation

By KELLI WEIR GateHouse Ohio Media Published: May 20, 2017 4:00 AM
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CANTON -- Sam Seiple, the popular and longtime McKinley High School swim coach, is under investigation for alleged rape involving a former high school student.

Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier confirmed this week that deputies have been investigating Seiple for months after receiving a complaint involving a female Canton City School District student who has graduated. He said the alleged misconduct occurred outside the city limits but declined to specify the nature of the allegations, citing the ongoing investigation.

"We hope to finalize the investigation very soon," said Maier, who added that Canton City School District officials have cooperated fully with investigators. "At that point in time, we will take the investigation to a prosecutor and go before a grand jury."

A sheriff's report obtained Friday by The Canton Repository provides additional details regarding the accusation. According to the initial complaint, the alleged victim went to the sheriff's office last August to report the sexual assault and told investigators it began in 2014 and occurred at a home in Meyers Lake.

Seiple's attorney, Eugene O'Byrne, declined to comment this week, citing the ongoing police investigation.

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Seiple, 57, an All-American GlenOak High School swimmer who went on to swim at Florida State University, has coached some of the region's top swimmers, including multiple participants at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. A Jackson Township resident, he also has earned numerous awards and recognitions for his contributions to high school swimming and diving.

Canton City Schools Superintendent Adrian Allison banned Seiple last month from the school's campus and natatorium.

In an April 20 letter to Seiple, Allison wrote the district was assigning him to work from home with pay. Allison also instructed Seiple not to have any contact, through any medium, with students or staff, other than with the district's central office administration, according to the letter the Repository obtained through a public records request. Allison said this week that he first became aware of the sheriff's investigation on April 19.

District spokeswoman Lisa Reicosky wrote in an email response to the Repository that the school district is not conducting its own internal investigation. No complaints against Seiple appear in his school personnel file.

Seiple, who was hired by Canton City Schools in May 1994, is paid $73,628 a year as the district aquatics manager and a stipend of $7,111 as head swim coach. He is not a teacher in the district.

He is responsible for managing the C.T. Branin Natatorium and the lessons, swim teams and special events held there. His job description also requires him to spend an average of no less than four hours per day as an on-site pool supervisor.

Seiple's most recent performance evaluation, from the 2015-2016 school year, shows he received overall proficient marks. His highest ratings came in areas where he dealt with students, parents and the community.

Seiple also has served for more than 20 years as the Ohio High School Athletic Association state swim meet and diving tournament director.

Reicosky said no swimming programs will be disrupted by Seiple's absence.

School records show that Seiple's current three-year contract with the school district ends June 30, 2018. According to the Ohio Department of Education, his three-year coaching permit is set to expire June 30. State records do not indicate whether Seiple has applied for a new permit.


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