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A former Rhode Island high school basketball coach is being accused of telling students to strip naked for what he said were body "fat tests."
The coach, who resigned from his position at the school in June, has denied any wrongdoing.
What are the details?
A report in The Boston Globe alleged that the Rhode Island attorney general's office is investigating former basketball coach Aaron Thomas, 54, in connection with allegations that he told male student athletes to strip naked so he could perform "fat tests."
Thomas, a former teacher and coach at North Kingstown High School since the '90s, resigned in June after players went public with their allegations.
John MacDonald, an attorney for Thomas, said that Thomas conducted the tests — which he said were done with parental consent — using skin fold calipers. Thomas himself claimed these tests were "designed to help athletes to reach their full potential." MacDonald also insisted that Thomas has amassed hundreds of signed consent forms over the years to corroborate his claim.
The Boston Globe, however, reviewed the forms and reported that nudity is mentioned nowhere on the form.
MacDonald responded by telling the outlet that Thomas found it easier to test players while they were in the buff.
"The testing started on the upper body with the shirt off and go lower with underwear on or off," MacDonald insisted. "It was simply quicker to do with underwear not in the way. In any given day he's testing three or four students."
Former student athletes, however, painted a much more nefarious picture, and said that Thomas would take them to a small janitor's closet or AV room attached to his office for examination. At that point, Thomas reportedly used the calipers to "pinch and explore the skin near their scrotum, their groin, and their buttocks."
"Some said he would also ask them to do stretches or 'duck walks' while naked," the outlet added. "One alleged that Thomas did a 'hernia check.'"
The Globe reported that allegations began to swirl as early as 2018, and administrators acknowledged the concerns by reportedly telling Thomas that he would only be able to conduct the "fat tests" in a locker room with at least two other adults present.
After his resignation, Thomas took a job at a private middle school in South Kingstown.
He was fired earlier this month after the allegations became public.
No criminal charges have been filed at the time of this report.
What else is there to know?
North Kingstown Schools superintendent Phil Augur addressed the tests during a Tuesday night school committee meeting and said, "I acted appropriately."
Augur said that he was first informed about the body fat tests in 2018, and once more in 2021.
"In the case in 2018," Augur said according to the outlet, "the former student said he was not naked at the time, but felt the tests were unusual."
In early 2021, however, another student said that he was naked and that Thomas had touched him inappropriately.
Officials immediately contacted police and suspended Thomas in February upon a full investigation into the teen's allegations. That same month, the school board unanimously voted to terminate Thomas, but he resigned in June before he could be fired.
"In both of these instances, I recognized the seriousness of the matter, and I acted appropriately and immediately in the best interest of students, past and present, with the information I had at the time," Augur insisted.
Augur's remarks were met with jeering and cries of "Liar!" from the crowd, the Globe reported.
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