NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Former North Kingstown High School boys basketball coach Aaron Thomas is facing accusations of misconduct, with former players alleging that he asked them to strip naked behind closed doors, for body fat checks.
The Skippers head coach for more than 20 years and a teacher at the high school, Thomas abruptly resigned in June amidst a school department investigation. North Kingstown police reportedly investigated the claims, but no charges were filed. The Attorney General’s office says it has an open investigation into the case.
Thomas had been working as a social studies teacher at Monsignor Clarke School in Wakefield, but WPRI reported Friday that the school had informed parents that Thomas would be placed on administrative leave. Subsequent reports by WPRI, the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal detailed accusations made by several former players surrounding the body fat tests.
Thomas began coaching the Skippers in the late 1990s and built the program into one of the state’s top powerhouses, culminating with the state open tournament championship in 2019. Thomas was at the helm this past season but suddenly disappeared from the sidelines late in the 2020 campaign. At that time Thomas was reported to be dealing with an “undisclosed medical issue.”
Following WPRI’s report Friday night, North Kingstown schools superintendent Phil Auger sent an email to parents with additional details on the chain of events. In the email, Auger wrote, “Mr. Thomas was a teacher and a coach in the North Kingstown School Department until he resigned in June 2021. Prior to his resignation the school department received an allegation regarding his job performance.
“Upon receiving the information, the district immediately placed Mr. Thomas on an administrative leave, and subsequently the School Committee voted to terminate him at the conclusion of the academic year (the earliest opportunity per R.I. Law). The matter was turned over to the North Kingstown Police Department who conducted an investigation while the district began its own investigation. The district also notified the Rhode Island Department of Education.”
Auger said Thomas resigned on June 24, 2021, before his termination would have taken effect. The school did not announce his departure.
Thomas was later hired by Monsignor Clarke as a middle school social studies teacher. WPRI reported that Thomas passed a background check and that the school was not aware of the allegations at the time of his hiring. The email from the school to parents read, “The school received a complaint that one of our recently hired middle school teachers allegedly acted inappropriately while previously employed at a different, public school,” which emphasized that there were no allegations of misconduct at Monsignor Clarke, according to WPRI.