NEW MILFORD — Longtime New Milford High School teacher Stephen Flanagan has retired from his position following an investigation into a sexual harassment claim against him, according to a report released Thursday.
The report on the school district’s investigation, obtained by The New-Times, concludes that while there were no indications Flanagan’s actions “were motivated by sexual desire or interest,” he is unable or unwilling to follow Board of Education policies.
The popular social studies teacher has received strong support from students, former students and colleagues since he was suspended from his teaching duties earlier this month after a fellow staff member filed a formal complaint of sexual or other unlawful harassment.
The report states that Flanagan, who has worked for 26 years in the district, provided officials with a notice of his intent to retire at the end of the school year, after being verbally apprised of the investigation’s findings.
He was also granted a leave of absence until the end of the school year.
The complaint filed against Flanagan claims he missed a staff meeting and was quite late to another because he was meeting with a female student “to provide emotional support.”
According to the document, the staff member who filed the complaint had observed Flanagan “sitting with the student while rubbing her back in a circular, up and down motion.”
The complaint was found to be “credible,” according to the report, which said Flanagan “used his personal funds to assist the student with the college process.”
The report noted that Flanagan had been disciplined earlier this year following a complaint filed by the parent of another female student charging “inappropriate conduct and gifts by Mr. Flanagan towards that student.”