Diocese & School Board React Following Arrest of Former Holyoke Catholic Coach
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Students and parents at Holyoke Catholic High School are in shock over the arrest of a former girls soccer coach on charges of sexual exploitation of children.
Authorities allege that Michael Dupont used an internet teen chat line to urge underage girls to pose nude in front of a video webcam.
The mother of a 14-year-old Vermont girl reportedly alerted authorities about inappropriate emails on her daughter’s computer back in December.
The allegations appear to have caught everyone by surprise. “Startled and shocked, I think sums up our feelings about this,” says Diocesan Spokesperson Mark Dupont.
Dupont, who has no relation to the suspect, says there was a meeting Friday morning at Holyoke Catholic with soccer players, their parents, and members of law enforcement.
He says it’s tough on the players. “I think the kids are very confused. You have to understand for the players there has been no history of this type of behavior. They saw this individual as their coach who they respected and played for for a few years hard to reconcile,” says Mark Dupont.
The Diocesan spokesperson the former coach passed the CORI background check and no red flags were ever raised since he became coach.
Word spread quickly through the community about this disturbing allegation.
George Moreau serves on the school’s board of trustees.
“A great many of the people that I spoke with at the school, especially other members of the advisory board, they tell me they are saddened and shocked by the situation and hopefully we’ll get past this and it won’t be a black eye to the school,” says Moreau.
Michael Dupont appeared in federal court on Thursday. His next scheduled appearance is Monday.