The Riverhead school board voted Tuesday night to accept the resignation of Riverhead High School Principal Charles Regan, who has been accused of sending thousands of sexually explicit text messages to a female student.
Regan's resignation, which is effective Sept. 27, will save the district salary and legal fees that could exceed $100,000, said school board president Greg Meyer. A formal disciplinary process is underway, he said, but could extend until November with a decision coming as late as January.
Regan has been on administrative leave since May, continuing to earn his nearly $188,000 salary.
"By accepting the resignation, the district receives a certain result; namely, that Mr. Regan is no longer an employee of the district," Meyer said. "While the evidence against Mr. Regan is overwhelming, and disturbing, anything can happen when a decision is left in the hands of a single hearing officer."
Regan, who is married and has two children, allegedly sent thousands of often sexually explicit text messages and images to the victim, Anastasia Stapon, 18, of Riverhead, over a four-month period that started shortly after the first of the year, according to her attorney, John Ray of Miller Place. Regan also allegedly kissed and groped Stapon in his office, the teen said at a news conference in May.
Attempts to reach Regan on Tuesday night were not successful.
Ray has filed suit against Regan, the school district, district Superintendent Aurelia Henriquez and the seven school board members.
Henriquez on Tuesday called Regan's actions "heinous" and said the resignation lifted a "dark cloud" that had been hanging over the district for months.
"I feel that severing the ties with Charles Regan as soon as possible not only saves the district a large amount of money, but it allows us — staff and students — to begin to rebuild," Henriquez said.
School district officials said they would separately lobby the State Education Department to rescind Regan's certification as a teacher and administrator.
"We share in the community’s disgust over Mr. Regan’s conduct which has been played out in the media," Meyer said. "Tonight, the board takes the most expeditious step available to it to permanently sever that relationship."
Ray has said Regan preyed on Stapon, who moved to the United States 13 years ago from Russia, isolating her from friends and family while slowly “grooming” her for sex.
A text on display at the news conference in May showed Regan allegedly talking about a long-term commitment to the teen. Other texts showed Regan allegedly threatening two male students who had shown a romantic interest in Stapon.
Regan also allegedly sent Stapon a video of an older man preparing to have sex with a younger woman and seminude selfies of himself, Ray said.