The Delaware County parish principal who was placed on leave by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia after students complained he did things that made them uncomfortable did not commit a crime, police said.
"There will be no charges filed," said Thomas J. Byrne, Ridley Park Borough police chief. "We have concluded our investigation."
Students at St. Madeline-St. Rose parish school voiced concerns about principal Dennis Reitano during a training session that teaches students about the proper boundaries and behavior between children and adults.
After interviewing four seventh graders and two teachers, Byrne said, he consulted with the county District Attorney's Office, which concurred there was no reason to file criminal charges.
Spokeswoman Donna Farrell said the archdiocese was not aware of the decision by police and was not certain what would happen next.
Efforts to reach Reitano were not successful.
On Dec. 5, the school's parish pastor, the Rev. Louis Bellopede, sent an e-mail and letter to parents letting them know Reitano had been placed on administrative leave when the students, who had just taken a "safe environment" training session, expressed concerns.
The school notified the archdiocese, which contacted the District Attorney's Office. That office, in turn, referred the case to Ridley Park Borough police for investigation.
Byrne said that the students and teachers did everything correctly but that there was a breakdown when the archdiocese did not notify police before sending a letter to parents.
Farrell, explaining why the letter was sent, said: "We feel a responsibility to inform parents."
According to Byrne, a female student reported that Reitano came up behind her in the hallway and put the manufacturer's tag back in her shirt. In another instance that Byrne called "horseplay," Reitano allegedly put his wet finger in a student's ear. The male students complained that Reitano would enter the restroom while they were there.
Byrne said the school had a problem with graffiti in the bathrooms. "He can go into the bathroom and tell them not to take all day."
Reitano has been principal at St. Madeline's since 2009. The school has 260 students in kindergarten through eighth grade who come from Eddystone and Essington as well as Ridley Park.