One of the nation's largest charter school networks has fired a co-founder after finding "credible evidence" of sexual misconduct.
The Texas Tribune reports that Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP, was fired based on the findings of an independent investigation related to three allegations of sexual misconduct.
KIPP officials say the investigation was initiated after a former student in spring 2017 alleged sexual abuse by Feinberg in the late 1990s. KIPP hired an external law firm to independently investigate the allegation.
"While neither investigation conclusively confirmed the initial allegation, which referenced events two decades ago, the investigators found the allegation to have credibility," KIPP said in the letter on its website. "Mr. Feinberg denies this allegation."
In the course of the inquiry, two other allegations were uncovered from the mid-2000s involving two former employees.
"In light of the nature of the allegations and the passage of time, critical facts about these events may never be conclusively determined," the letter said. "What is clear, however, is that, at a minimum, Mr. Feinberg put himself into situations where his conduct could be seriously misconstrued."
Feinberg and Dave Levin, two Houston-based teachers, founded the Knowledge is Power Program in 1994 and founded KIPP Academy in Houston in 1995. The KIPP Network now operates 209 schools across the nation, according to the organization’s site.
"We recognize this news will come as a shock to many in the KIPP Team and Family as we struggle to reconcile Mr. Feinberg’s 24 years of significant contributions with the findings of this investigation, the letter states.
The law firm investigation allegations presented evidence of sexual harassment by Feinberg involving an adult KIPP alumna who was employed by KIPP Houston in 2004; that incident led to a financial settlement at the time.
A second credible harassment claim against Feinberg, involving another adult alumna employed by KIPP Houston from the same time period, could not be corroborated.