NORTH SMITHFIELD â€” The School Department is weighing its options for handling a local teacher and coach who has been charged by State Police with allegedly texting inappropriate messages to minors.
Stephen DeMeo, 30, a social studies teacher at North Smithfield High School and coach of the schoolâ€™s girls soccer team, was arraigned at Kent County Courthouse on Monday on two felony charges, indecent solicitation of children and possession of child pornography, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.
DeMeo was reported to have pleaded innocent to the charges in court. Bail was set at $10,000 and a judge also issued an order barring DeMeo from having any contact with minors.
As a result of his plea of innocence, School Committee Chairman Robert E. Lafleur said Superintendent of Schools Steven Lindberg would be issuing a statement today on the departmentâ€™s response to the charges against DeMeo.
â€śRight now it is in the hands of our legal counsel,â€ť Lafleur said. â€śThe superintendent has been in contact with our legal counsel and will take the appropriate action,â€ť Lafleur said.
Lafleur said he knew only what has been released in the media about the charges against DeMeo and did not want to comment further on the case in light of the School Committeeâ€™s potential role in holding a hearing on the case at a later date.
â€śWe are in the process so I canâ€™t say anything at this point,â€ť Lafleur said. More information could be presented to the School Committee in closed session at its next meeting, he noted.
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DeMeo has been a teacher at North Smithfield High School since 2003 or 2004, according to Lafleur.
In addition to his role as the current coach of girls soccer, DeMeo, a native of Johnston, has also served in the past as coach of the high schoolâ€™s boys basketball team for 5 years. He is reported to also hold a position as boys basketball coach for Coventry High School in addition to his role with the local girlâ€™s soccer team.
It could not be determined Monday when DeMeo was taken into custody on the State Police charges.
State Police Lt. Kevin J. Hawkins, contacted Monday night, said the case was handled by State Police Detectives and he could not comment on the charges. Hawkins referred questions to State Police Captain James Demers, commander of the detectives unit.