WARWICK – A judge has found a former Providence schools administrator guilty of common assault for removing a 15-year-old teenager’s sneaker and sock and massaging the teenager’s foot at a Warwick gymnasium without his consent .
District Court Judge Anthony Capraro on Friday found Olayinka Alege, 40, guilty during the April 20, 2021 encounter with the East Greenwich teenager at the Edge Fitness Club in Warwick which left the unidentified teenager feeling shaken and violated.
Capraro filed a year-long record in the case, which means the case will be removed from Alege’s record in a year as long as he obeys the law. He was ordered not to contact the teenager or his family.
Alege declined to comment after Capraro’s verdict.
The 16-year-old, whom Capraro ordered the media not to identify, said he completed a series of leg lifts at the Warwick gymnasium only to have a man he had never seen before approach ” uncomfortably” from him.
The man, who he later learned was Alege, asked him about his low-top Converse trainers and asked to see his shoes. The casual conversation turned into something “weird”, he later told his father.
“The man grabbed my heel…and took my shoe off without asking,” the teenager said.
Alege stroked the sole of the sneaker while asking about the blisters.
“Once again without asking he grabbed my foot and took my sock off,” the teenager said. Next, Alege massaged his right foot up and down with both hands, he said.
“I tried to pull my foot out, at one point, but it kicked back,” the teenager said in response to questions from Warwick attorney Kerry Rafanelli.
The boy said he immediately texted his dad to pick him up, but continued doing floor exercises before switching to a rowing machine. As he rowed, Alege passed and winked, he said.
Alege, who did not speak in his defense, shook his head in response.
The teenager said he was in shock when his father arrived. He told her what had happened and they returned to the gym a few minutes later to report the incident to management. They later filed a complaint with Warwick Police, with her father taking dictation.
Video taken by the gymnasium of the meeting broadcast during the teenager’s testimony. The teenager can be seen raising his legs before Alege approached and sat close to his feet during a period in which members of the gymnasium wore masks and appeared to be largely keeping a social distancing. Alege’s back is turned towards the camera, but he leans towards the boy during the moments the teenager says he has taken off his trainer and sock and massaged his foot.
Alege’s attorney, Jason Dixon-Acosta, attempted to undermine the teenager’s testimony, asking if it was his idea to try and get Alege banned from the gym.
“I was hoping this man would get banned from the gym, so I was the last person this happened to,” he said.
Warwick Police also showed Major Andrew Sullivan’s interrogation of Alege at headquarters on April 27.
“That’s all I asked of him, the shoes,” Alege said, continuing, “It wasn’t something like I ripped his shoe off and ran.”
According to Alege’s account, the teenager let him inspect the sneaker – which sat on the judge’s dais throughout the trial – and his foot.
“I certainly didn’t rub his foot,” Alege said.
“I’m so blown away that a conversation has me sitting here with you two right now,” Alege told investigators.
“Do you have a foot problem? … That doesn’t make it a bad thing,” Sullivan asked.
“No, no, no,” Alege said.
Alege was hired in Providence in June 2020 to work with middle and high school principals as a district-level administrator. He was from the Hillsborough County, Florida public school district, where the superintendent was then from. Harrison Peters had also moved on.
In 2009, an Orlando newspaper reported that Alege, a high school vice principal, was accused of “jumping” boys’ toes as a form of discipline.
Five boys told sheriff’s deputies that Alege had “repeatedly asked them to remove a shoe and sock in camera, and allow him to ‘jump’ their toes,” the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Alege, of West Warwick, has resigned from his post at Providence Schools after his arrest in May by Warwick police.