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North Kingstown Schools to turn over documents related to naked ‘fat tests’

Target 12

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The North Kingstown School Department has agreed to turn over records and communications regarding the former basketball coach, Aaron Thomas, who’s accused of inappropriately getting underage players to strip naked with him alone behind closed doors over multiple decades.

At a hearing at Washington County Superior Court in South Kingstown on Friday, Judge Sarah Taft-Carter gave the school department 45 days to produce those documents.

Timothy Conlon, a Providence attorney representing at least three former students named only as “John Does 1-3,” issued the two civil subpoenas to the North Kingstown School Department and Thomas earlier this week through Washington County Superior Court.

As for the subpoena to Thomas, his lawyer, Timothy Dodd, said outside of court that to his knowledge, his client did not possess any of the documents Conlon was seeking.

Dodd said the judge narrowed the subpoena to Thomas to include only “complaints or reports” related to the three former students.

Thomas did not attend the hearing.

The judge also granted the “writ of replevin” motion, which was filed in November, requiring the former coach to provide all of his communications, along with consent forms.

In his request to the school department, Conlon requested any and all documents, data, books and records related to Athletic IQ — a now-defunct private company that some residents have argued was connected to the fat-testing data collection effort in the mid-2000s — fat testing, and any other examination performed on students or athletes.

As part of the fat tests, several students interviewed by Target 12 said Thomas would kneel in front of their naked bodies while measuring their upper inner thighs. Multiple students also said he would direct them to stretch, sit cross-legged and to perform “duck walks,” an exercise that requires walking forward while in a partially squatted position.

Thomas is the subject of a criminal investigation by Attorney General Peter Neronha. He has not been criminally charged, nor has he been named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit.

But that could change. In Conlon’s letter to the school department, he wrote he was requesting the materials “in anticipation of litigation.”

Thomas’s lawyer in the criminal probe, John MacDonald, said last month the coach was in possession of 300 signed consent forms spanning more than 10 years, arguing the documents show the tests happened with parental and student permission. Shortly thereafter, however, MacDonald told Target 12 the consent forms had been returned to the School Department.

Conlon seized on those comments by MacDonald in his letter to the school.

“We would hope that given the very public statement by Thomas’s lawyer regarding his client taking school records, the [North Kingstown School Committee] and NKSD have now taken steps to preserve this data,” Conlon wrote.

The school agreed to preserve “all existing materials identified” in the letter.

The parties will be back in court on February 10.

Tolly Taylor (ttaylor@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook

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