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Catholic schools superintendent retires immediately

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The superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau retired after facing allegations from former students.

Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau Bishop Edward Rice accepted Leon Witt’s letter of resignation, effective immediately, on Sept. 13, according to a news release.

Witt, diocesan superintendent since 2003, was placed on administrative leave this summer after allegations from two former students were made “concerning the conduct of and comments made by Witt” when he was a teacher and principal at St. Joseph Catholic Academy in Springfield, diocesan officials say.

The incidents — involving claims alleged to have occurred 20 and 25 years ago — was referred to child abuse and neglect officials and the prosecuting attorney. The complaints against Witt were not determined to represent child abuse, child sexual abuse or sexual misconduct, according to the release.

The superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau oversees more than 25 campuses across southern Missouri, including Springfield Catholic Schools.

Witt is succeeded in an interim capacity by Gene Aug, the diocesan director of development and properties since 2008, according to the release. The diocesan superintendent, according to its website, works out of a Springfield office at 601 S. Jefferson Ave.

Officials say the search for a permanent superintendent is scheduled to start soon.

Springfield Catholic Schools recently ranked first on Springfield Business Journal’s list of the area’s largest elementary and secondary private schools, with fall enrollment of 1,330 students. The 173-employee Springfield Catholic Schools reported 2017 revenue of $5.7 million, up from $5.6 million in 2016.

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