- Rich Klein
EDITORIAL: Tri-Valley School District Covered Up Critical Child Sex Abuse By Donald Wales
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
"I also told her that now that he is aware that allegations have been made he might clean up his act. I told her I could do no more but would be watching closely. We both expressed our hope that this action would be enough to get him to change his behavior."
That is what Tri-Valley Elementary School Principal Thomas Arielly told a parent of one of the victims of child sex abuse on June 4 or 5 in 1984, just a few days before Donald Wales was arrested by New York State Police.
It was later learned that he abused at least 30 boys from the school during the time of his employment as a fifth grade teacher from July 1972 through June 1984.
Right now, three of those former students are suing the Tri-Valley School District and Wales in State Supreme Court / Sullivan under the Child Victims Act.
What's absolutely chilling about the words of Arielly, contained in a document that's part of the lawsuit - is that Wales, less than two years before that, was arrested and charged with sex abuse crimes in the Warwick Valley Central School District.
When the Tri-Valley Central School District Board of Education meets tonight, they likely won't reveal anything about the mounting evidence against the board regarding the three victims who were repeatedly sexually abused by former teacher Donald Wales from the late 1970s through early 1980s.
Sadly, there were at least 27 other victims acknowledged by Wales. A few of them settled lawsuits with Wales more than two decades ago but many others have certainly endured life-long damage as a result of this predator who was allowed to roam free.
Arielly allegedly concealed critical information from the New York State Police and also from then-District Attorney Steve Lungen, whose appearance at Wales' sentencing hearing in 1984 is included as a transcript in the legal filings by the plaintiffs.
Court papers (below) also reveal that the superintendent at the time, Julius Robert Kelz, also continued to ask Wales to continue teaching, even after multiple allegations of sex abuse had come to his attention.
In addition, the New York State Police arrested Wales in October 1971 for his sex crimes while employed in the Warwick School District.
What's also troubling is this: If the New York State Police clearly knew about Wales' crimes in Warwick (in which he was sentenced only to probation), did State Police alert the Tri Valley Central District at all from 1972 through 1984? If they did, there has to be some documentation in Tri Valley's files. If they did not, shame on them.
The SullivanTimes will soon be releasing many of the legal documents in this case on this site.