SD2 releases documents relating to Leland complaint

2012-10-25T13:54:00Z 2012-10-26T00:06:08Z SD2 releases documents relating to Leland complaintBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

School District 2 released on Thursday the disciplinary letter and investigation documents surrounding the student complaint in 2000 against Senior High Key Club adviser Edward Leland.

Senior High student and Key Club officer Hunter Kincaid complained in October 2000 that Leland had a tendency to push personal-space boundaries.

He said Leland would drape an arm over Kincaid's shoulder or place a hand on his neck. Soon Leland was brushing up against Kincaid with his body and brushing Kincaid's backside with his hands.

Kincaid complained to school officials at the time, who, in turn launched an investigation into Leland's conduct. Leland had been a middle school and high school science teacher in the district. He retired in 1999 but continued on as the school's Key Club adviser.

The Key Club is a youth service organization sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.

According to the district, the only disciplinary records on file for Leland's three decades in the district are the letter and investigation report from Kincaid's complaint.

The documents released Thursday show that investigators interviewed three students involved in Key Club, two of whom complained of Leland's inappropriate physical contact. The third said Leland simply left him feeling uncomfortable.

The three students' names were redacted from the documents, but one of them was Kincaid, who confirmed Wednesday that he had complained to the school after his experience. 

One student, who was 19 at the time and president of the Key Club, told of traveling with Leland and staying overnight in the same hotel room.

He told investigators that he traveled with Leland to Florida in the summer of 2000 for an international Key Club convention.

"It was the perception of (the student) that during said trip, Mr. Leland would, while at the urinals, look at the boy's genitalia," the report reads.

The student also describes the same kind of touching Kincaid reported experiencing.

Investigators confronted Leland with the accusations of the three students, keeping their names confidential. However, the investigators noted in their report that Leland knew who the boys were, referring to them by name as he spoke of their claims.

They were also concerned that Leland quickly pointed out in their interview that the Key Club president was 19. He also explained to investigators that while he was a teacher, he never took the students on overnight trips. That occurred only after he retired, he said.

The investigators recommended to SD2 that the club end its partnership with Leland, that it find another adviser and that it inform state Kiwanis Club officials of its actions against Leland. 

"We also recommend that the district not allow Mr. Leland to volunteer his time to high school events or have any official reason to be on school properties," the investigation report reads.

Leland was told to give up his Key Club responsibilities and hand over his school keys to the district.

Leland left the school but continued on with the Kiwanis Club, serving most recently as the the district administrator for Key Club, a state-level position.

He resigned late last week when allegations of his behavior first surfaced. 

Leland's name came up last Thursday when the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the release of nearly 1,200 secret files the Boy Scouts had kept from 1966 to 1985 on leaders and volunteers accused or convicted of sexual misconduct, including Leland.

Before his involvement with the Key Club, Leland was a Scoutmaster and in 1976 became the subject of a complaint filed with the local Boy Scouts office after an 11-year-old Scout accused Leland of fondling him during an overnight campout.

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