St Patrick Interparish Assistant Principal Granted Bond & Released

St Patrick Interparish Assistant Principal Granted Bond & Released
(Left) Ryan Clemens pictured on St Patrick Interparish's faculty page. (Right) Ryan Clemens mugshot

The Assistant Principal at St. Patrick Interparish Catholic School, who was arrested for attempting to handle reported sexual abuses internally, was released on a $60,000 bond one day after he was arrested. 

According to the Alachua County Department of Jail, Ryan Michael Clemens, 41, was given $50,000 for his charge of child neglect and $10,000 for his charge of tampering with evidence. 

Days after St. Patrick Interparish Physical Education (P.E.) teacher Christopher Chell, 46, was arrested on 10 counts of child molestation, the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) announced that Clemens attempted to cover for Chell. 

After Clemens held a private meeting between himself, Chell, and the victim, Clemens disregarded the student’s statements and reported false evidence to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to minimize the allegations. 

Days after Clemens made the false report, a teacher and several students separately reported similar allegations of Chell’s behavior. Clemens did not submit any additional reports to DCF or GPD and failed to protect the students of St. Patrick Interparish. 

Chell was originally given a $1,000,000 bond; however, the state filed a motion for pre-trial detention, and he will be held without bond. 

Court records reveal that Chell began working at the school in the fall of 2019 before becoming the school’s physical education teacher in the fall of 2022. Chell’s employment was terminated on February 28th, approximately two weeks before he was arrested. 

On February 20th, a female 7th grader reported to Clemens that Chell had made her uncomfortable by telling her he could be her “secret boyfriend.” 

According to the police report, Chell denied making the inappropriate comments to Clemens. Clemens facilitated a phone call between Chell and the victim’s parents, and Chell told them he had not asked their daughter to be his "secret boyfriend."

Clemens reportedly found out later that Chell had in fact admitted to other faculty members that he told the student he wanted to have a hidden relationship with her but that he was “kidding.” Clemens allowed Chell to remain as the P.E. teacher after learning Chell had publicly disclosed his comments. 

The girl was removed from the school by her parents, prompting three female 6th graders to approach Clemens and report that Chell had been making them uncomfortable through inappropriate comments and inappropriate touching while hugging. 

Chell reportedly told the 6th-grade girls he “loved” them and would coerce students into giving him hugs on a daily basis, asking rhetorically, “What, I don't get a hug?” when he believed a student did not want to hug him. 

The inappropriate hugging escalated to sexual battery over the course of the school year. 

In another incident, a staff member told Clemens she was concerned because Chell was “staring at a female student from the hallway through the window during standardized testing.”

After the staff member moved to block Chell’s view, Chell reportedly repositioned himself to maintain a line of sight between himself and the 6th graders. 

A day before Chell was arrested, a GPD officer attempted to contact him to discuss his allegations of sexual abuse. Chell said he would comply with the officer’s questions; however, two hours later, the same officer attempted to contact him over the phone, and Chell did not respond. 

Detectives suspect there may be unidentified victims and have asked anyone with information to contact Sgt. Pandak at (352) 393-7734.

Jack Walden

Jack Walden

Jack Walden is the creator of Gnvinfo and a 2nd year journalism major at Santa Fe College. From general information, to exposing falsehoods and corruption, Jack seeks to deliver the truth.
Gainesville, FL