NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify information about the superintendent’s knowledge of the prior allegations against Alege.
WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A now-former high-ranking Providence schools administrator is expected to appear in court Thursday on a charge of assault.
Olayinka Alege, 40, resigned Wednesday from his position as the Providence network superintendent of secondary schools. He is accused of forcibly giving a foot massage to an underage male at a gym in Warwick.
According to court records, on April 20 Alege approached the young man at a Warwick gym, asked him about his workout shoes, and before the juvenile could answer, Alege picked up the male’s right foot and took his shoe off without 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. 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,” police wrote in a sworn affidavit.
Police say video surveillance in the area showed the interaction and then charged Alege with simple assault or battery, a misdemeanor.
Alege said that he was only interested in the boy’s shoes and didn’t massage his foot, according to police.
12 News learned that 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.
Alege was never criminally charged nor disciplined for those alleged incidents.
Target 12 Investigator Tim White asked R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green if they knew of these incidents when Alege was hired in 2020.
“I was not aware at the time of these allegations. Given where we are today, probably not. That’s all I can say,” she responded. “Hindsight is 2020, I did not know about the allegations at the time. Here we are, could we have made a better choice? Probably.”
Superintendent Harrison Peters, who came from the same school district in Florida, said those issues predated his time there.
“When I had gotten to Tampa, it was nearly 10 years prior to that, he had stellar reputation, even when I got to Providence and I called back and did a reference check, he had gotten glowing recommendations, great performance evaluations,” he said.
Infante-Green added the district is conducting its own investigation.
Video Now: Full interview with Infante-Green and Peters