NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - A principal, who's facing a serious accusation, was suddenly removed from an elementary school in Niagara Falls.
News 4 began investigating Monday night and learned Tuesday that Niagara Falls Police pulled principal Patrick Kuciewski from the 79th Street School to be questioned. Now Kuciewski has been placed on paid leave as the school investigates, but police say it's too late to file charges in the case.
According to police, a former student from a different school came forward with an accusation of sexual misconduct. She says it happened about 15 years ago.
Parents at the school who like Kuciewski hope and believe it's not true.
One said, "I don't think it is. He's a good man."
Another added, "Why wait 15 years? That would be my thing."
Police and school district officials won't say exactly what Kuciewski is accused of doing. But some parents can understand how it might take someone so long to make an accusation.
Tim Carson said, "You've heard other cases where it didn't come out for years. People are embarrassed. You know what I mean? Especially if it's a kid. It just ruins a kid for the rest of their life."
Kuchiewski has been involved in education in Niagara Falls for 31 years. He has led summer programs for years and before he was a principal, he taught music.
Former student Nico Quarcini said, "He's a pretty nice guy overall. Really friendly. I know he used to play drums with the kids whenever they had a recital here. I know he's really friendly with the kids."
Although police opened an investigation, Niagara Falls Police Captain William Thompson said they do not expect to file charges. He says it appears the statute of limitations has expired. He says now the case is in the school district's hands.
If Kuciewski had been accused of a first-degree sex crime, there is no statute of limitations. But for many sex crimes, police can not file charges after five years have passed.
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