WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A former high-ranking administrator for Providence Public Schools pleaded not guilty to a charge of simple assault in court Thursday.
Olayinka Alege, 40, is accused of forcibly giving a foot massage to an underage male at a gym in Warwick.
His attorney, Joseph Solomon Jr., asked that the reading of the facts of the case be waived, but Judge Elaine Bucci denied the request, saying the facts were necessary to hear.
Alege was released on personal recognizance. Outside court, Solomon told 12 News that he and his client had nothing to say except that Alege isn’t guilty and the allegations are not what they seem.
On Wednesday, Alege resigned from his position as the Providence network superintendent of secondary schools following a request from R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green.
Target 12 learned that in 2009, when Alege was an assistant principal at a school in Tampa, Florida, 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.
Infante-Green told Target 12 she was not aware of those claims when Alege was hired last year.
“Hindsight is 2020. I did not know about the allegations at the time,” she said. “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. But he acknowledged he was aware of the allegations against Alege when he hired him.
“When I had gotten to Tampa, it was nearly 10 years prior to that,” Peters said. “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.”
Infante-Green said the district is conducting its own investigation.
Video Now: Full interview with Infante-Green and Peters