Former Lansing school superintendent apologizes

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- The former Lansing school superintendent is apologizing for calling a woman"troubled" because of her allegations against the district's top candidate for superintendent.

News 10 first broke the story of Casey Sterle who is accusing acting superintendent Mark Coscarella of locking her in a room, stripping in front of her and dancing.

"I'll never forget the feeling that day when I was trying to open that door and he looked at me and said, don't open that door. That's when I found out that the door was locked and I'll probably never forget that sound for the rest of my life," she said.

Coscarella also resigned from his position with Holt Schools in 2002 after accusations he provided, or allegedly, allowed students to watch pornography on a baseball trip.

Yvonne Caamal Canul apologized to Sterle in a letter Friday afternoon.

In the letter Caamal Canul said,

"You have requested that I apologize to your client for wording I used to describe her possible motivation for bringing an accusation against Dr. Mark Coscarella for an incident that allegedly occurred nearly 20 years ago.

Having been personally subjected to inappropriate, sexually-charged behavior during my lifetime as a woman, I certainly should have used better wording than "troubled," or other quoted phraseology, regardless of the context in which it was subsequently used. I am deeply apologetic to your client for that lapse in judgment and for the impression that I am not sympathetic to nor in support of women who have endured this experience."

In an Oct. 31st interview with the Lansing State Journal, Canul called Sterle quote "troubled," accusing her of looking for her 15-minutes of fame.

The letter comes after Sterle's attorney asked for some kind of apology at Thursday night's school board meeting.

"I am also here to accept an apology from any board members that are willing to give that this evening. Sometimes the people who are hurting our communities and children...they're not the people who you think they are. And even if you've known them for many years and you experience with them is really great, it doesn't give you the right to cast judgment," Kelly McClintock, Sterle's attorney, said.

After the public comment was over at Thursday night's meeting, Board President Rachel Willis read a statement to people there, saying she understands their concerns with Coscarella.

"I do just want to make a statement that the board education is sensitive to the fact that the community has significant feelings regarding the decision to consider Dr. Coscarella for the position of superintendent," she said. "As the board has been acutely aware of the allegations against Dr. Coscarella, we have actively been pursuing an investigation into the facts underlying the case."

News 10 has been told the Lansing school board is conducting its own investigation into the allegation against Coscarella. The next forum to discuss the search for a new superintendent will be Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the the Wainwright Conference Room in Lansing.

Board members do not plan to be there.

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