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Jacksonville Catholic school tries to ease concerns after principal's arrest

Arrest report cites apparent mental breakdown at Jacksonville hospital

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Catholic school is reassuring parents that its campus is a safe place for children after rumors surfaced that the school's principal had been arrested during what police described as a mental breakdown.

According to an arrest report obtained by News4Jax, the principal of Holy Family Catholic School on Baymeadows Road was charged Oct. 20 with trespassing and resisting an officer without violence. News4Jax is not naming him, because both charges are misdemeanors.

Police said they were called to St. Vincent's Hospital in Riverside because a man was “acting out and refusing to leave.”

They said they found the 45-year-old school principal “ranting and raving” about various subjects and “not making sense.” They told him he had to leave the property because he was making a scene and refusing to sign in.

The officer said the man refused to cooperate and was taken into custody, but resisted being handcuffed.

According to the arrest report, the man told the officers that “he is clinically insane and that he should not be around children.” 

He told police, who later confirmed the information, that he had been previously committed under the Baker Act.

The officer who filed the arrest report described the man as “all over the place mentally, jumping from one subject to another,” and said he had “erratic thoughts,” but that at no point did he threaten suicide.

According to the report, the man “was adamant that he should not be around children and that he cannot be around his son anymore.”

His bond was set at $2,503.

Parents of children at Holy Family Catholic School said they were told the principal was on medical leave, but that no further details were released by the school.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of St. Augustine said Father Tim Cusick, pastor of Holy Family Parish, will be sending information to parents Tuesday. 

In the principal's absence, Assistant Principal Matt Moloney is the acting principal of the school until further notice, the diocese said.

The diocese released the following statement Tuesday, in response to parents asking about the principal's absence:

Father Cusick is working in consultation with the diocese. The school remains a safe environment for all children. Father Cusick will provide further information to parents and parishioners as soon as he is able.”