Warwick defends arrest of former Prov. schools official accused of unwanted foot rub

Providence

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The decision on whether to allow a hearing on alleged police misconduct for a former high-ranking administrator for Providence Public Schools accused of giving an unwanted foot massage to a minor has been pushed to mid-November.

Olayinka Alege, 40, is challenging his arrest by the Warwick Police Department regarding the incident, claiming the warrant was based on false information and was made with “reckless disregard for the truth.”

The former school administrator was charged with misdemeanor simple assault and/or battery back in May after an underage boy told Warwick police the former school administrator massaged his foot without his consent at a gym.

In a new court filing responding to Alege’s claims, lawyers for the city of Warwick say police had sufficient probable cause to arrest him.

Alege’s motion claims the surveillance footage obtained by investigators does not show what police said it did in their original affidavit, which was used to obtain a warrant for his arrest.

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.”

While the city’s motion admits that the camera didn’t provide the most ideal vantage point, police claim the video does corroborate the victim’s account of the incident. The video has not been released publicly.

“Rather than ‘markedly false or made with reckless disregard for the truth,’ the statement that the video ‘supports’ is entirely accurate and truthful,” the city’s motion reads.

Alege had asked for a Franks hearing, a type of procedure to determine if police used false pretenses to obtain a warrant.

The decision regarding whether to grant the Franks hearing was continued to Nov. 15 because Judge Mary McCaffrey, who’s presiding over the case, wasn’t present.

Attorney Jason Dixon-Acosta, who’s representing Alege, expressed frustration in court regarding the delayed decision.

“We were scheduled to argue and for the court to decide whether to schedule the evidentiary hearing,” Dixon-Acosta said, adding that Alege has requested this matter be addressed as urgently as possible.

The judge filling in for McCaffrey said it’s not his place to make a decision on her case, especially because she’s still reviewing the evidence.

Alege, who at the time was a network superintendent at Providence schools, had previously faced allegations related to boys’ feet when he worked in Florida, though he did not face any criminal charges in that state.

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.

Alege’s Rhode Island 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.

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