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27 News report prompts new probe into fired Columbia County educator

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State DPI documents of the investigation into Mike Garrow.
State DPI documents of the investigation into Michael Garrow.

SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) - A 27 News report on a teenager's accusations against fired, Fall River Schools Superintendent Michael Garrow prompts a new investigation into Garrow's conduct.

27 News revealed Tuesday state records show Garrow allegedly inappropriately touched a Jefferson High School teen at Garrow's Sun Prairie home during a team sleepover there.

Garrow was a volunteer coach at Jefferson High. The accusation prompted the state Department of Public Instruction to propose revoking Garrow's educator licenses, and Garrow subsequently surrendered the licenses this month.

Jefferson Police Chief Kenneth Pileggi says in 2018, one of his detectives investigated Garrow's alleged actions with the team's student-athletes, and found Garrow's conduct did not rise to the level of a crime, even though it was inappropriate. Even though the party incident took place outside of Jefferson Police's jurisdiction, Pileggi says his detective reviewed it and never contacted Sun Prairie police.

27 News Wednesday questioned Pileggi about the failure to make a referral to the appropriate police agency. On Thursday, Pileggi told 27 News there was new momentum to the incident.

"Now after speaking with you, I took the time to painstakingly read through all the reports and based on our conversation, I have forwarded a copy of the reports to the Sun Prairie Police Department," Pileggi says. The Jefferson chief says he's spoken with Sun Prairie Police Chief Mike Steffes, and says the reports were provided so that Sun Prairie Police can investigate the incident at Garrow's home.

Pileggi says his detective's investigation was thorough. He says the decision by his agency to close the case was made in consultation with Assistant Jefferson County District Attorney Monica Hall. Hall declined to comment to 27 News.

DPI records show the Sun Prairie sleep-over took place Feb. 22, 2018. The records state Garrow and the teen were under the same blanket as they watched television, and Garrow touched the girl under her clothing, with his finger ultimately under the waistband of her pants. The records say the teen tried to move her body to avoid Garrow's touching. Documents say Garrow ceased the touching when someone entered the room.

DPI officials used the incident and other alleged conduct by Garrow to propose revoking his state educator licenses in 2019. In an agreement with the state to surrender his educator licenses, Garrow denied the accusations.

Garrow was fired by the Fall River School Board in August for what officials said was his contact with a student outside of the school district. School Board President Keith Miller declines to comment on whether the student was the Jefferson High School twelfth grade student from the party incident.

Garrow also resigned as Milton Schools Superintendent in 2012 after staff members alleged he showed them an inappropriate photo.

27 News tried to reach Garrow at the after-school program center where he works in Mauldin, South Carolina. Garrow has yet to respond to the message left at the workplace.






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Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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