Wednesday, December 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fresno principal kills self amid sex abuse probe

By
From page A5 | June 08, 2014 |

FRESNO — An elementary school principal in Fresno shot and killed himself as sheriff’s deputies prepared to search his home as part of a child sex abuse investigation that will continue in the aftermath of the suspect’s suicide, authorities said.

Fresno County deputies were approaching Orange Center Elementary principal Lance Clement’s house in Hanford on Friday morning when they heard a shot inside, Lt. John Golden said. Clement, 42, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The principal, who had been the lead administrator at Orange Center for four years and also served as its district superintendent, had been under investigation in the week since a school employee reported seeing him in his office with a female fifth-grader and the lights off, Sheriff Margaret Mims said.

Mims told the Fresno Bee the investigators determined that nothing inappropriate had happened but remained concerned after interviews with more than 20 students revealed Clement had often summoned young girls to his office and produced evidence of one case that may have led her office to seek charges of sexual battery or lewd acts with a minor.

The interviews also revealed that Clement had given several of the girls gifts.

“Definitely, unethical behavior took place,” the sheriff said.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for Clement’s home after they found the hard drive missing from his school computer, Mims said. They plan to continue the investigation with computer they found in the search, she said.

“Our concern now are for any students that might need some counseling help, to find out exactly what happened,” Mims said. “In addition to that, the parents need to know.”

School trustees took Clement’s keys and placed him on administrative leave with pay on Wednesday, which was the last day of school at Orange Center, said Camilla Sutherland, a school improvement coordinator with the Fresno County Office of Education. No students were on campus when word of his death reached the school, Sutherland said.

“We’ve had a couple of staff members, a couple of parents have come in just to talk,” she told The Bee. “It is a sad day, but we will have counseling services with our crisis intervention team, they will be here on Monday and as long as we need them.”

Former Orange Center school board member Gene Balthrop said the allegations and suicide left him “in complete shock.” He told The Bee the board has never received any complaints about Clement’s behavior from students, parents or staff members.

Orange Center Elementary serves about 350 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 8 and is located a little less than a mile outside the Fresno city limits. Before he became principal there, Clement spent three years as principal of Parkview Middle School in Kings County.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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Discussion | 3 comments

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  • tina singletaryJuly 03, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    Marcie Quinine's now Marcie Clement was well aware of the pedophile horrific molestations of Lance. Marcie growing up molested her own sister, was molested by her father. Cat Quinine's use to buy her gifts before sexual assaults. Instead of rejecting that, she made that a part of the lifestyle of her and Lance. Online children porn at home. Both Marcie and Lance removed computers from home except a ipad b4 authorities got to their home. Marcie was very paranoid of being followed and watched by police according to her family members after Lance got caught. She is a monster as is Lance. Why is Marcie Clement working at Pioneer school around children. They led double lives abusing the trust of community with sexual abuse!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • tina singletaryJuly 09, 2014 - 5:38 pm

    *Marcie Quinones

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • kendal kendalJuly 12, 2014 - 7:39 pm

    Unfortunately Marcie Clement is just as guilty as Lance. She would of continue to cover for him. Marcie Clement would be engaged with Lance in online porn of children. Its how she grew up with her dad Cat Quinones. For Marcie Clement and Lance to lead double lives and betray trust of community is unforgivable. Hopefully Pioneer School in Hanford will put a stop to an accomplice Marcie Clement from working with children in their school. They both have NO conscience. They both have issues of sociopathic configures. They can smile in your face despite just minutes ago of committing the unthinkable to your children. Marcie Clement and Lance lied to everyone. Not even Lance's dad knew who his own son was. Many doubt Lance would of ended up this if he had not married Marcie Quinones who over time GOT him into this sick pathetic lifestyle! Those who know them knew Lance was coming home late. That Marcie and Lance discarded computers which contained child illegal photos/material on hard drive. Who knows, the very children Lance sexually molested were on that very hard drive at home!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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