CINCINNATI - The Ponzi scheme conviction that sent Glen Galemmo to a federal sentencing hearing Wednesday also sparked a bit of a dustup within the halls of Moeller High School.
The controversy involved a letter written on Galemmo’s behalf, on Moeller stationery, by Carl Kremer, Moeller’s basketball coach and dean of students. It's drawn comparisons to the recent controversies over the Archdiocese's teacher contract prohibiting employees from supporting activities that contradict Catholic teachings, and its stance on the popular ice-bucket challenge fundraiser.
“I could always count on Glen and Kris (Galemmo) if we needed any kind of activity organized,” Kremer wrote. The letter was attached to an Aug. 19 plea for leniency in the case. “I count them both among the few best parents we’ve ever had in our program and being at Moeller that is saying a lot.”
It didn’t take long before complaints about letter made their way to Moeller President Bill Hunt, who had “an extensive conversation” with Kremer Aug. 22 and submitted his own letter to U.S. District Judge Herman Weber, who will sentence Galemmo. The letter said Kremer’s views do not reflect the opinions of Moeller High School.
“The school certainly does not support Carl’s individual opinion,” Hunt told WCPO. “He knows now it was a mistake.”
Galemmo recruited many of his investors from the athletic programs and schools the Galemmo family attended, including Moeller. Hunt said he knows only one Moeller family personally impacted by the fraud case, but he received two complaints from Galemmo investors he did not know when the letter became public last week. He declined to say whether Kremer was reprimanded for writing the letter, but added it merely reflected Kremer’s “personal opinion on the family” and wasn’t a request to give Glen Galemmo a lighter sentence.
“Carl’s real relationship is with the boys,” said Hunt. “I think he sees what the boys are going through and feels some empathy.”
But a well-known critic of the Cincinnati Archdiocese sees it differently.
“If the letter was submitted as part of a plea for leniency, then that’s what it is – for good or ill,” said Mike Moroski. Moroski was fired from his job as an assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School after blogging in support of same-sex marriage. “If the Archdiocese has no issue with this, then they once again have shown their wild hypocrisy.”
As WCPO reported in March, the Archdiocese employment contract prohibits employees from publicly supporting behaviors that are outside church teachings and requires that they "act and speak in a way that supports the Catholic Church and its teachings."
The Archdiocese declined to comment for this story.
Hunt said it would be “a stretch” to compare Kremer’s letter to recent controversies involving the Archdiocese employment contract. Those controversies include Moroski's firing and an Aug. 19 email in which the Archdiocese urged employees to cease planning “ice bucket challenge” events intended to raise money for the ALS Association.
“I’m not sure what that has to do with the new teacher contract,” Hunt said. “The fact that he wrote a letter about the four people he came to know as individuals, the fact that he wrote that on school letterhead, was that the right thing to do? No, it probably wasn’t, but it’s in no way indicative of the school’s view or the board’s view or anything else. Carl’s opinion doesn’t constitute an Archbishop Moeller opinion.”
Moroski says Kremer's letter as only slightly different than the public stance that got him fired at Purcell Marian.
"The fact is I took a personal public stance on equality and Carl took a professional public stance on the character of a criminal," said Moroski. "I say 'professional' because of the letterhead. My views were expressed on a personal blog."
But Moroski wouldn't want to see Kremer punished for the letter.
“Carl is a good man and he can do whatever he wants,” Moroski said. “That’s the point, I suppose. The Archdiocese needs to stay out of employees’ private lives, or operate with at least a semblance of consistency.”
We asked Hunt for a copy of the letter he sent to Judge Weber Tuesday. He sent back an email with 'some of the essential points" in that letter, reprinted in their entirety below:
I am writing to clarify with you that any feelings expressed by Mr. Carl Kremer, in a previous letter about the Glen Galemmo family, are in no way, shape or form indicative of an official stance of Moeller High School.
Having just become aware of the letter last Friday, I did read it and talked extensively with Carl. He now understands his error in using school letterhead and deeply regrets doing that and maintains that the letterhead’s use was certainly not deliberate.
Let me just reiterate that Mr. Kremer’s personal feelings or opinions, despite what some might interpret from his choice of using the letterhead, are NOT those of the school and are not supported by the school and I will tell anyone that at any time.
My thanks for allowing me to submit this on behalf of our fine school.
Archbishop Moeller High School
Here's what Moroski had to say about Kremer's letter in an email to WCPO:
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Carl Kremer, so let me be very clear about that going forward. This opinion is no way is a reflection of my feelings toward Carl.
If the letter was, in fact, submitted as part of a plea for leniency then that is what it is - for good or ill. And, as those are the facts and it is written on Moeller letterhead, then it is a reflection of an Archdiocesan high school - for good or ill. Lastly, Galemmo's actions, while illegal, are also wildly unethical - regardless of what a good guy or coach he was. I happen to know Moeller families that he took advantage of and lied to for years. To me, his actions are about as un-Christian as they come and, I would hope, would be condemned by the Archdiocese.
If the Archdiocese has no issue with this then they, once again, have shown their wild hypocrisy. It is clear that they are more concerned with their own medieval ideology and not offending wealthy donors than they are with the good of the people, let alone their own church - which, it begs to be noted, is an excellent church that teaches excellent lessons. It's a shame that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati drags the Catholic Church's name through the mud on a seemingly daily basis.