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Plum School Board Accepts Member's Resignation As Grand Jury Probe Continues

PLUM (KDKA) -- As a grand jury investigation continues into the alleged teacher-student sex scandal at Plum High School, the school board held a meeting tonight where one of its members resigned.

The Plum School Board accepted the resignation of board member Joe Tommarello Wednesday evening who told KDKA he just couldn't take it anymore.

"It was truly compromising my values and moral beliefs as being a Christian, just how I was raised," Tommarello said.

Tommarello claims he went to the school administration as early as 2012 about student-teacher relationships, but claims they didn't do anything about it.

The accusation was denied by the board.

"We took responsibility for investigating these rumors, involved the Plum Police in our process, and took our findings to the authorities, which then launched a criminal investigation," said Sal Colella, the Plum School Board president.

They say they took the 2012 allegations to the school's resource officer Mark Kost, who couldn't prove the allegations. But, it turns out now; Plum's Police chief says there's no record of an investigation in 2012.

Kost is retiring and he's hired an attorney.

Now, School Board members are questioning Tomarello.

"If he really wanted justice, why didn't he stay? Why didn't he stay and be on the safety committee? Why didn't he stay to make whatever hard decisions we have to make when we get this information?" said Michelle Stepnick, a school board member.

"The district is sort of in damage control right now, so their first political maneuver is to try and discredit me in any way they can," says Tomarello.

Phil DiLucente, the attorney who is representing Kost, tells KDKA he's disappointed that the board is making his client a scapegoat. He says his retirement has nothing to do with the scandal.

Meanwhile, the board didn't reserve its criticism just for Tommarello during their meeting. They called the media coverage a circus and say it's torn the community apart.

Nonetheless, three teachers at the high school have been charged in this scandal and a grand jury is investigating a possible cover up.

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