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May 17, 2016

Mount Holyoke coach squashed

Collegian File Photo

Mount Holyoke College’s head squash coach was fired by the college yesterday after pleading no contest to a reckless endangerment charge earlier in the day in a Connecticut court, according to a Mt. Holyoke press release.

Head Squash Coach Allen Fitzsimmons, 31, has been suspended by Mount Holyoke since March, when the school first learned about the sexual assault charges brought against Fitzsimmons stemming from events prior to his employment, said the release.

Fitzsimmons was arrested by Middlebury, Conn. police on Feb. 23 for an event that reportedly occurred on Sept. 1, 2006, according to the Springfield Republican.

According to a Waterbury, Conn. newspaper, The Republican American, Fitzsimmons was initially charged with a misdemeanor, fourth-degree sexual assault, after a former student of his from Westover School in Middlebury, Conn. told police that Fitzsimmons had sexual contact with her at least twice while she was at the school between 2003 and 2007. Fitzsimmons taught at Westover, an all-girls school, for four years as the head varsity squash coach before being hired at Mount Holyoke in 2008.

Mount Holyoke said, in the release, that it “takes the prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment very seriously. Upon learning of the charges against Mr. Fitzsimmons, the College immediately took steps to safeguard its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.”

The college also said that it would “launch a thorough review of the hiring process, using outside experts to insure that our hiring practices protect the safety of our College community.”

In May, Fitzsimmons was denied application for an “accelerated rehabilitation” that would have dismissed the misdemeanor sexual assault charge after the woman, now in her 20s, objected, according to the Associated Press.

Sam Hayes can be reached at sdhayes@student.umass.edu.

Comments
2 Responses to “Mount Holyoke coach squashed”
  1. Joe says:

    The MHC Athletic Director knew about the allegations at Westover School before she hired the coach. There are emails to prove that, unless they have already been destroyed.

  2. Lary Bloom says:

    Joe: How did you learn that MHC knew before it hired him? Any idea on how to track that info down?

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