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Coscarella accuser hopes Lansing School District keeps students safe after investigation

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Posted at 4:30 AM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 05:42:52-05

LANSING, Mich. — Lansing School District Board of Trustees is expected to start the process to not renew Deputy Superintendent Mark Coscarella's contract.

Wednesday, the school district's outside investigation into Coscarella was released.

The investigation found Coscarella likely sexually harassed a former student teacher.

That student, Casey Sterle, first told FOX 47 in October 2019 Coscarella locked his classroom, stripped to his underwear and danced sexually in front of her.

Coscarella was the top candidate to be Lansing Public School's next superintendent.

"This hasn't been the easiest process. I'm good in the fact that my intent was always to protect people I feel I have worked really hard to do that in a respectable way," Sterle said.

This happened in April 2000 when Coscarella was teaching at Holt Public School's Elliot Elementary.

Sterle reported the incident to her advisor at MSU, where she was a student in 2000 when the incident happened.

She also filed a police report in 2002 with the Ingham County Sheriff's Office.

No charges were ever filed.

Sterle said she's surprised by the support she received from families when she came forward to FOX 47 last year.

"The Lansing community has made it very clear this is an important thing for them. They want their school district to be safe. They want people to listen to survivors when something has happened to them," she said.

Lansing School District board president Gabrielle Lawrence said members will be looking into not-renewing Coscarella's contract during Thursday's meeting.

"Unfortunately we can't have someone working in our district when allegations of this nature have been substantiated," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said she knows Coscarella personally.

She said it was difficult to separate her personal feelings.

"When all of the data suggested victims don't come forward and lie. In hindsight, I believe Ms. Sterle,"

Coscarella was serving as acting superintendent when Fox 47 broke the allegations.

He then asked to be placed on paid administrative leave while the district investigated

The school board decided to do a national search and Coscarella never actually applied for the job.

"This has been a position we never thought we would be in. We've never been in this situation before as a district thankfully. and hopefully, it never happens again," said Lawrence.

Lawrence said now that the investigation is finished, the focus is now on finding the district's next leader.

"We're hoping we're able to put this issue to rest and close this chapter and move forward," she said.

In the meantime, she said this investigation should serve as a message to the community.

"What we want our staff and our community to know is if they have a complaint of this nature, we're going to take them seriously," said Lawrence.

Coscarella's contract ends on June 30.

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