WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - Worcester police have launched a criminal investigation involving a charter school cheerleading program, an official said this week, sharing new information a matter of days after the Abby Kelley Foster Charter School announced members of its cheerleading coaching staff had been put on administrative leave.

Lt. Sean Murtha, a spokesperson for the Worcester police, told 7News that authorities are investigating “a report of inappropriate sexual behavior,” adding “the investigation is criminal in nature.”

Abby Kelley Foster sent a letter to parents last week informing them that multiple members of the cheerleading coaching staff are off the job amid allegations of misconduct. The letter did not specify the type of misconduct. 

School administrators said they acted immediately to keep kids safe, suspending more coaches and halting the cheerleading program once more information came to light. 

The cheer program, which impacts students of all ages at the elementary, middle and high school levels, is on hold at Abby Kelley Foster. The entire coaching staff is now on leave.

“I was a little alarmed when I received notice,” parent Michelle Wesson said this week. 

Wesson said she thinks the school is handling the situation well, though, keeping parents informed about what is happening.

Abby Kelley Foster officials declined a request for an interview with the school’s executive director on Wednesday. Officials also declined to release a statement on the Worcester police investigation, instead referring back to a statement they released on Monday.

“We strive for our school community to be one where our charter virtues, especially respect and honesty, are valued,” the statement said in part. “Our students’ safety and wellbeing are paramount and guide our school policies and behavioral codes.”

7NEWS’ repeated attempts to speak with members of the cheerleading coaching staff have been unsuccessful. 

Abby Kelley Foster is doing its own independent review of the situation, having hired an outside counsel. 

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