Bellwood parents demanding action after sexual abuse investigation

Local News

BELLWOOD, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Bellwood community members and parents continue to search for answers about the allegations of sexual abuse of students by a former assistant wrestling coach.

At a school board meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Thomas McInroy said he was told by the State Police he could not comment on the investigation. Trooper Joseph Dunsmore said there is no such order from their department prohibiting him from speaking to anybody about this case.

Parents say they’ve lost trust in the people who are supposed to be protecting their children while at school. They’re calling for a plan of action and prevention so more children do not have to go through this type of abuse again.

Eleanor Killinger has a son on the middle school wrestling team at Bellwood-Antis. When she heard the news of sexual abuse allegations against assistant coach Ryan Blazier, she said she felt sick to her stomach.

“My co-workers said I went white. I went absolutely white. I thought I was gonna puke. I knew I had to get a hold of my husband and my son. It was a phone call I didn’t want to make,” she said.

The school district was informed of the allegations in December 2019, when Blair Child and Youth Services said they were investigating the abuse of a young girl.

Blazier was placed on a safety plan, but not suspended or put on leave.

“That’s only human to know that’s something you should do to protect children,” Tammy McCracken, Grandparent to Bellwood-Antis students said.

Concerned parents, like Rochelle Simpson, are now addressing the school board and trying to figure out how this could happen in Bellwood.

“This guy is a monster. He should have never, ever been able to be around those kids, especially if somebody even suspected it. He should have never been there,” she said.

At the school board meeting on Tuesday, parents called for a plan of action.

“So that if God forbid, there is an accusation in the future, that these people are going to be taken away, out of the school district, and away from our children until the investigation is completed and it is safe for them to return,” Simpson said.

The next school board meeting is next week. Simpson said she hopes school officials were working on that plan at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Pennsylvania State Police are continuing their investigation. They’re asking anyone with information or is a victim of Blazier to contact them.

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