ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A guidance counselor and track coach at a Pennsylvania Catholic school has been suspended without pay for two weeks after he sent the student body an insulting email criticizing the lack of fan support at a recent basketball game.
Chet Moffett apologized for the email he sent to students at Erie's Cathedral Prep high school after its Dec. 13 loss at General McLane, the Erie Times-News reported Tuesday.
Moffett's email was sent to all students at the all-male school, but primarily targeted 36 students whom the coach saw not sitting in a student cheering section. Moffett wrote that those who sat with their parents should "cut the umbilical cord and grow a pair."
Moffett was harsher yet on students who sat with their girlfriends, apart from the cheering section, writing "if she made or wanted you to sit with her, then she's a high maintenance, selfish pig and you should dump her now." Moffett referred to other students who sat apart with classmates as "boy lovers."
The email referred to General McLane as "General McLame" and its fans as "mayonnaise sandwich eating, sister loving, trailer park dwelling clowns." It also referred to another school, Mercyhurst Prep, as "Mercyworst."
The Rev. Scott Jabo, Cathedral Prep's president, confirmed the email went to all students and said Moffett has apologized and offered to resign, but school officials believe he was contrite and deserves to keep his job. Moffett's pay during the suspension is being given to General McLane and Mercyhurst, which are being encouraged to use the money for student programs.
"He took full responsibility," Jabo said. "He apologized to the student body and he is in the process of apologizing to Mercyhurst Prep and General McLane. Obviously the email runs contrary to the mission of Cathedral Prep and as such is unacceptable on every level."
Moffett emailed an apology to students that read, in part, "Please understand, homophobic statements ... and degrading comments about women are not (and never should be) part of the vernacular of a Man of Prep. For that, I am truly sorry."
The school was founded in 1921 and is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie.
Moffett issued a statement when contacted by the media for comment, apologizing to the schools and students, calling the email "a complete lapse of judgment on my part" and holding himself "100 percent accountable" for it.
Jabo said Moffett, who has coached at the school since 1998, "has done a lot of good for the school. There is not a string of poor judgment calls on his part. I think this is a lesson learned."