Under cloud of accusation, Sheffield principal will not return - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Under cloud of accusation, Sheffield principal will not return

Russell Heaston Russell Heaston

(WMC-TV) - In just a week, Memphis City Schools students will return to class.  But the principal at one Mid-South school, under a cloud of accusations, will not return.

Sheffield High School Principal Russell Heaston on paid suspension, and Memphis City Schools superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash plans to replace him.

But it's still unclear what happened back in 2003 when the father, husband and church deacon was the assistant principal at East High.

Earlier this year, a Memphis man claimed he and Heaston had a sexual relationship when the young man was a student at East High. Police and the school system investigated, but found no evidence against Heaston so Heaston returned to work after a five-day suspension.

But then, a 34-minute video surfaced last week on the WPLX 1180 radio website with two men who appear to be Heaston and his accuser - after the accuser shared his side of the story on the air. It appears the accuser secretly videotaped an intimate encounter between the two men.

Two days later, Cash held a news conference announcing plans to find a permanent replacement.

Cash did not say Heaston was suspended due to the original accusation, but said the furor surrounding the video rendered Heaston unable to perform his duties.

Heaston's case is now in the hands of the Memphis City Schools Office of Labor and Employee Relations.

The first step is counseling. Heaston's case is what's called a "Suspension Pending Investigation."

The case could go in a number of directions - ranging from demotion to termination.

Any day now, the Office of Labor and Employee Relations will send Heaston a letter inviting him to a disciplinary conference - when they will make a recommendation on his case.

In a pivotal development Monday, police said they do not plan to re-open Heaston's case, so he has no problems with the law.

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