LAWRENCE — The two members of the Central Catholic High School staff who were placed on leave pending the outcome of misconduct investigations have been identified as Dean of Students and basketball coach Richard Nault, and social studies teacher John Housianitis, according to parents, students and law enforcement officials.
The two staff members were suspended while investigations of their behavior are conducted, according to a letter sent out Thursday evening to students, parents and alumni by Central President Christopher F. Sullivan. The two were not identified in Sullivan's letter.
Allegations involving the two staff members came to the school's attention in the wake of the firing of Andrew Nikonchuk, the former director of curriculum and instruction at the school. Nikonchuk, 36, of Lowell is under investigation for the drugging and rape of a student in 2006.
The first of the new allegations involves Housianitis, who posted compromising photos of himself on an adults-only, password-protected website, according to Sullivan's letter.
"I am aware that copies of these photos have been circulated," wrote Sullivan, who did not specifically name Housianitis in his letter. "This staff member’s online behavior is inconsistent with the values of self-respect, compassion for others, and healthy decision-making for the children we serve."
When an Eagle-Tribune reporter reached Housianitis by phone Friday afternoon, he said, “I have no comment at this moment until the school releases information.”
Nault last month reportedly sent inappropriate messages through a social media site to a former student who had graduated in 2016, Sullivan said in the letter. Screen shots of the messages had been circulated among the Central community, he said.
"The school is conducting an investigation regarding these allegations," Sullivan wrote in the letter that did not identify Nault by name. "The sending of these messages violated the school’s policies pertaining to appropriate social boundaries between students and faculty."
A man who answered the door at Nault's listed address on Thursday afternoon declined to comment to an Eagle-Tribune reporter.
Sullivan noted that in neither case were any students physically harmed.
"Both individuals involved will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of our investigation," Sullivan said. "We will communicate the nature of our findings and the status of each individual’s employment once that process is complete."