PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — A former high-ranking administrator for Providence Public Schools accused of giving an unwanted foot massage to a minor is challenging his arrest by the Warwick Police Department earlier this year.
Olayinka Alege, 40, was charged with misdemeanor simple assault and/or battery in May, after an underage boy told Warwick police Alege massaged his foot without his consent at a gym.
Police said at the time the victim’s claims were corroborated by video surveillance from inside the gym, which Alege is now disputing. In a new motion filed in his criminal case in Kent County District Court, Alege asks for a Franks hearing to determine if his arrest warrant was based on false information.
Alege, who was at the time a network superintendent at Providence schools, had previously faced similar allegations related to boys’ feet when he worked in Florida, though he did not face criminal charges in that state.
At a previously scheduled pre-trial hearing in Alege’s case Friday morning, his attorney Jason Dixon-Acosta submitted the surveillance video from the court as evidence for his motion. The court declined to release the video to 12 News.
In the Warwick Police affidavit about the April 2021 incident, police wrote “Alege picked up the juvenile male’s right foot and began to take his shoe off without asking permission.”
“Alege then proceeded to grab the heel of the juvenile male’s foot as he attempted to pull his foot away and pulled off the juvenile male’s sock,” the affidavit continued. “Alege later dropped the sock and began to massage the juvenile male’s foot for approximately thirty to forty seconds. The juvenile male tried to pull his foot away, but the male would not let his foot go.”
Alege’s new motion claims the video does not show what police said it does.
Using a pseudonym for the the victim, Alege’s motion claims: “At no point … can the viewer observe Mr. Alege pick up Brian’s foot; take off Brian’s shoe; grab Brian’s heel; pull off Brian’s sock; massage Brian’s foot; or the struggle Brian described.”
In court Friday, a prosecutor representing Warwick Police said he would need two weeks to respond to the motion. Judge Mary McCaffrey said the hearing would be continued until Oct. 29. She has not yet ruled on whether Alege will get a Franks hearing.
In a separate motion for discovery, Alege is requesting copies of any alterations made to police reports filed by the officers involved in his arrest, as well as access to the complete history of phone calls made to the complaining witness and all written correspondence concerning him.
Dixon-Acosta declined to discuss the claims outside court.
“I think our filing speaks for itself and that’s all we have to say at this time,” Dixon-Acosta said.
In a press release sent out by a police injustice group, Alege said he has been “hurt for months” by the situation.
“Police misconduct is rampant and unfortunately for many, it goes by unaddressed because people of color often rely on overworked public defenders and the reality is that the police has long been exempt from the skepticism and rigor we apply to other sources of information.” Alege said. “There’s no doubt the young man involved is a victim in many ways, but it is certainly not the result of any encounter he had with me.”
Warwick police have not commented on his claims.
After Alege’s arrest, he resigned from his position with Providence schools, and pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was released on personal recognizance.
Shortly after, two more people came forward claiming Alege had given them unwanted foot rubs at the gym, though they both declined to press charges.
Back in 2009 when Alege was an assistant principal at a school in Tampa, he was accused by five boys of popping or cracking their toes as a form of punishment, according to Sun Sentinel. He did not face criminal charges at the time.
The case would eventually lead to the termination of then-Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters, who admitted he knew about the allegations against Alege before he was hired in Providence but did not inform his superiors or the hiring committee.